17 January 2020

An app developed by a University of East London (UEL) graduate to help smokers kick the habit has been downloaded more than four million times.

MSc Psychology alumnus, David Crane, built the Smoke Free Plus app for his dissertation in 2013, which aimed to test behaviourial change techniques with 500 participants over six months. The app proved hugely popular and instead hit 28,000 downloads over that period.

I have a background in tech and had just given up smoking at the time, so I was inspired to create an app for that purpose. The app features daily tasks that help people reframe their attitudes towards smoking, which means they are twice are likely to quit."

"Stopping smoking is hard. I know, I've failed at it often enough. What really makes the difference is support, most people need help to stay quit. The problem is that until now, it's been hard to get this help to people,"

David Crane, UEL psychology graduate and founder of Smoke Free, said.

The app, which has a high average user rating of 4.7 out of 5, went on sale for the first time this week in more than 1,400 Boots stores across the UK and online.

The app follows National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance on quitting smoking, with users encouraged to monitor their progress, from improving their health to saving money.

An exciting new feature of the app is expert-led stop smoking clinics held on the app twice-daily Monday to Friday, with experts trained by the world-renowned National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training guiding users through challenges.

Almost half of all adults in the UK smoked in 1974, a figure which has since dropped to 15 per cent. The government now wants to make smoking tobacco obsolete in England by 2030.

Smoke Free Plus was supported by DigitalHealth.London's Accelerator Programme, and its programme director, Sara Nelson, said, "We are delighted to see the company grow and have the potential to make a national impact on the millions of people who want to give up smoking this New Year."

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