iPhone apps unlikely to help smokers quit

A REVIEW of 47 quit-smoking apps for iPhone shows most are unlikely to help patients.

One of the major problems with the apps is that while they may provide personalised motivation, few recommend or refer users to counselling, quit lines or other support networks, researchers said.

Lead author Professor Lorien Abroms, a health communications expert from George Washington University, said most apps failed to mention the benefits of nicotine replacement therapy and around half embraced hypnosis.

The review covered 47 free and paid applications available in 2009.

“They were pretty poor. There wasn’t one I thought I could recommend to a smoker,” Professor Abroms said.

Given current consumer demand for health apps, the  weaknesses of those reviewed represent a missed opportunity to provide evidence-based aids, the authors said.

AM J Prev Med 2011 40:279-285