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Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health


Mobile health technologies are being developed for personal lifestyle and medical healthcare support, of which a growing number are designed to assist smokers to quit. The potential impact of these technologies in the fight against smoking addiction and on improving quitting rates must be systematically evaluated. The aim of this report is to identify and appraise the most promising smoking detection and quitting technologies (e.g., smartphone apps, wearable devices) supporting smoking reduction or quitting programs. We searched PubMed and Scopus databases (2008-2019) for studies on mobile health technologies developed to assist smokers to quit using a combination of Medical Subject Headings topics and free text terms. A Google search was also performed to retrieve the most relevant smartphone apps for quitting smoking, considering the average user’s rating and the ranking computed by the search engine algorithms. All included studies were evaluated using consolidated criteria for reporting qualitative research, such as applied methodologies and the performed evaluation protocol. Main outcome measures were usability and effectiveness of smoking detection and quitting technologies supporting smoking reduction or quitting programs. Our search identified 32 smoking detection and quitting technologies (12 smoking detection systems and 20 smoking quitting smartphone apps). Most of the existing apps for quitting smoking require the users to register every smoking event. Moreover, only a restricted group of them have been scientifically evaluated. The works supported by documented experimental evaluation show very high detection scores, however the experimental protocols usually lack in variability (e.g., only right-hand patients, not natural sequence of gestures) and have been conducted with limited numbers of patients as well as under constrained settings quite far from real-life use scenarios. Several recent scientific works show very promising results but, at the same time, present obstacles for the application on real-life daily scenarios.