Ways to help: Apps

Our reliance on smartphone technology has been highly criticised by the mass media with fears that the apps, websites and social networking sites we rely are leading to forms of addition and antisocial behaviour. Although we are spending hours on consumed by these platforms, there is increasing evidence that this addictive technology may be helping curb other dangerous addictions. There  thousands of apps designed to help curb smoking addictions, with the majority focused on creating sustainable goals for quitting. Here at Chooseday we have categorised our top five apps, reviewed by Erica Roth.

1. My Last Cigarette – Stop Smoking Stay Quit

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My Last Cigarette is one of the original smoking cessation apps, and it’s easy to see why it’s stuck around. The program has helped thousands of people quit smoking by pointing out the positives. The app calculates the money you’ll save by not smoking, but more importantly, it tells you how much longer you could live smoke free. Daily motivational messages and medical facts help keep you on track.

2. Quit It Lite

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Quit It Lite is a motivational program that helps you track your smoking cessation goals in a different way. Instead of tracking your nicotine consumption, Quit It Lite focuses on what you haven’t done. The app tracks the cigarettes you didn’t smoke, the tar that didn’t absorb into your bloodstream, and the money you didn’t spend on tobacco products. The physical benefits of quitting are displayed, based on how long you’ve gone without smoking.

3. Craving to Quit

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Craving to Quit is a free trial of Craving Quit Pro, a 21-day smoking cessation program developed by and tested at Yale University. Using group-based training principles, Craving to Quit’s customizable features help you develop goals and remind you to check in daily in order to track your progress. Playlists provide audio and visual instruction, nightly reflections, and exercise tracks to keep you moving and motivated. You can also upgrade to Craving to Quit Pro in order to access all 21 days of instruction.

4. Quit Smoking with Andrew Johnson

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Clinical hypnotherapist and stress management expert Andrew Johnson is known for his self-help programs. Johnson’s inspirational messages help people with many kinds of addiction. Now his confidence-boosting program is available to people who want to quit smoking.

For many people, it’s not just the act of smoking that makes quitting difficult, but the situations that make you want to smoke. Quit Smoking with Andrew Johnson teaches you how to break habits that you’ve associated with smoking. The lessons make you relax your mind and body until you’re ready to let smoking go.

5. LIVESTRONG MyQuit Coach

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LIVESTRONG’s MyQuit Coach app can help you quit smoking your way. The physician-approved app lets you personalize your journey and make quitting smoking fit into your lifestyle. Choose to quit “cold turkey” or reduce your nicotine use with a step-down approach. Features include analyzing your nicotine consumption, tracking your cravings, and making resolutions that are meaningful to you.

Read more great reviews here.

Do you use apps? If yes, is it one above or another?

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Reasons to quit: Political

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Politics may not factor in when deciding to quit. The majority of smokers wouldn’t even think of politics when buying their regular 20 pack however the systems that govern us play a great role in cigarette production and distribution. The last five years alone Australia has witnessed the introduction of plain packaging and regular tax increases, affecting the way smoking is viewed within our society.

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Within our nation the total taxes placed on a packet account for 62.5% of the final price, one of the highest ratios in the world. Through this increased tax rate the Federal Government receives a total of $8 billion annually. Although the mainstream Australian population agrees with these tax increases there has also been severe backlash. Recently, senator David Leyonhjelm’s apologised to smokers and vowed to stand up for the rights of the one in five Australians who choose to smoke. He believes there is a discrepancy in the amount that smokers contribute and receive from the Federal budget. He stated in 2013 smokers only required about $320 million from Australia’s healthcare system, despite contributing over $8 billion.

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Since the 1970s the political spectrum has been discussing the effects of smoking on the population, passing legislation altering the perception of cigarette smoking. Advertising of tobacco products changed dramatically in the early 1990s with the introduction of the Tobacco Advertising Prohibition Act (1992) which expressly prohibited almost all forms of Tobacco advertising in Australia, including the sponsorship of sporting or other cultural events by cigarette brands. Through changing the advertising patterns the government were able to better justify later decisions, which would affect the average smoker. It was not until 2007 when restrictions really came in to place with the introduction of federal law banning smoking in all Australian Commonwealth government buildings, public transport, airports and international and domestic flights. Within the space of seven years we have seen the introduction of a number of state and federal laws such as the NSW ban on smoking in a car with a minor present and the nationwide introduction of plain packaging in late 2012. No matter what your view is it is clear that there is a massive political influence on cigarette production and consumption, it will be interesting to see what the next few years bring…will we see a complete ban?

What are your thoughts on tax increases, plain packaging or Senator David Leyonhjelm’s comments?

Reasons to quit: Health

It feels pointless rattling off the limitless health reasons why you should considering quit so we thought we would do something a little different and use this post to talk about the forgotten health side effects of cigarette addiction. Charlene Laino over at WebMD wrote this great post on the 10 most overlooked reasons to quit smoking:

Alzheimer’s Disease: Smoking Speeds Up Mental Decline

In the elderly years, the rate of mental decline is up to five times faster in smokers than in nonsmokers, according to a study of 9,200 men and women over age 65.

Participants took standardized tests used to detect mental impairment when they entered the study and again two years later. Higher rates of mental decline were found in men and women — and in persons with or without a family history of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, the researchers reported in the March issue of the journal Neurology.

Smoking likely puts into effect a vicious cycle of artery damage, clotting and increased risk of stroke, causing mental decline, writes researcher A. Ott, MD, a medical microbiologist with Erasmus University Medical Centre in the Netherlands.

The bottom line: The study provides substantial evidence that chronic tobacco use is harmful to the brain and speeds up onset of Alzheimer’s disease, Ott says.

SIDS: Maternal Smoking Doubles Risk

Smoking increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, a European analysis shows.

The researchers compared 745 SIDS cases with more than 2,400 live babies for comparison and concluded that just under half of all deaths were attributable to infants sleeping on their stomachs or sides. Roughly 16% of SIDS deaths were linked to bed sharing, but for unknown reasons, bed sharing was particularly risky when the mother smoked. The risk was very small when mothers did not smoke during pregnancy, the researchers say.

An Increased Risk of Impotence

Guys concerned about their performance in the bedroom should stop lighting up, suggests a study that linked smoking to a man’s ability to get an erection. The study of nearly 5,000 Chinese men showed that men who smoked more than a pack a day were 60% more likely to suffer erectile dysfunction, compared with men who never smoked cigarettes.

Overall, 15% of past and present smokers had experienced erectile dysfunction, more commonly known as impotence. Among men who had never smoked, 12% had erection problems, according to the study, presented last year at the American Heart Association’s annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention in Miami.

To read more check out this great site here.

Did you know about these health risks? Do you know of any other surprising health risks associated with cigarette smoking? 

Reason to quit: Economic

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A smoker may have hundreds of reasons to quit, from wanting to improve their general health to stopping for a loved one. Since mid 20th century the Australian government has sought to prevent smoking related illnesses and diseases, through means of increasing tobacco taxes. This has seen a steady increase in the cost of cigarettes with a 20 pack of Marlboro currently selling at around $19 with prices set to soar 12.5% over the next four years. If this tax is passed, it will see Australia become the most expensive place to smoke in the world. In order to further explore the correlation between the cost of smoking and the prevalence within society, we have listed the most expensive cigarette prices against the lowest (based on a 20 pack of Marlboro or equivalent).

Most expensive

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Australia – $18.56

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New Zealand – $17.56

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Norway – $17.50

Least expensive

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Pakistan – $1.17

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Vietnam – $1.19

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Nicaragua – $1.26

The Australian Government believes that by increasing tax prices of tobacco products will help curb smoking addiction. With tobacco-related diseases costing more than $31 billion to the national economy annually and causing over 15,000 deaths each year, the Federal Government has faced pressure to increase these taxes.

Recent predictions have indicated that the recent tax haul introduced will see around 800 million fewer cigarettes will be smoked in Australia and around 60,000 smokers will quit. Despite this, a current pack-a-day smoker will spend approximately $6,775 a year. Conversely, a pack-a-week smoker will spend just under a $1000 a year.

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The choice is there. Make this Tuesday a day of choice.

What is Chooseday?

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We live in a society where we are both highly addicted and also self-deprived. This pattern of addiction and deprivation creates unsustainable expectations of life and sees cyclical patterns of low self-worth. Within Australia, the rate of this behaviour can be viewed within the cigarette smoking community, whom are bombarded daily with antismoking messages yet still smoke. The objective of this campaign is to make it easier for smokers by encouraging them to go without for a single Tuesday. Through this abstention the individual is creating a more sustainable goal and paving a way towards a nicotine-free life. The sustainability of this goal is seen through the changes it makes to a smokers life, by participating the average smoker will save over $800 annually as well as vastly improve their physical and emotional health. This campaign is active on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, with this blog being the centre for all our content and information.