The free HelpMeQuit app connects future ex-smokers to smoking cessation resources and ‘quit buddies,’ awards badges for reaching non-smoking milestones and includes games for distraction
On Thursday, the Health Department launched the NYC HelpMeQuit app, a free tool to help New Yorkers quit smoking.
“Quitting smoking is hard, but HelpMeQuit is here to make it easier. As a former smoker, I know personally how difficult it is to quit,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “The app helps smokers stay motivated to quit and reminds them of the important health and financial milestones along the way.”
Developed with input from smokers trying to quit, HelpMeQuit includes tips to stop cravings; social support from other people using HelpMeQuit and Facebook friends; connection to existing smoking cessation resources such as the New York State Smokers Quitline and a map of nearby clinics; and in-app games to distract from smoking. The app helps New Yorkers track their progress through money saved by not purchasing cigarettes; cigarettes not smoked; badges earned for reaching milestones; and time – down to the hour – since they quit smoking.
In New York City, 867,000 adults and 15,000 adolescents use tobacco products. Tobacco use is a leading contributor to premature, preventable death in NYC, killing an estimated 12,000 people annually. Tobacco use can cause vascular disease, stroke, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease and various types of cancer.
“Smoking is scientifically proven to cause long-term problems such as asthma, emphysema and lung cancer,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “I hope this innovative, hands-on approach will encourage Brooklynites to quit smoking.”
According to the Health Department, the benefits of quitting smoking are very tangible and measurable:
- In 20 minutes: heart rate and blood pressure decrease
- In two weeks to three months: lung function improves and heart attack risk begins to drop
- In one year: the risk of heart disease is cut in half
- In 10 years: the risk of dying from lung cancer will be half that of a smoker
- In 15 years: risk of heart disease is the same as a nonsmoker.