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Start-Up Creates Smart Lighter To Help People Stop Smoking

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Slighter, a Lebanese start-up, wants to encourage the public to kick the habit of smoking with a smart lighter that creates a personalized cessation plan.

During the first week, the smart lighter tracks the user's smoking habit, recording when and how frequently they used the device to light a cigarette. The smart lighter then uploads the data into a companion app that creates a personalized plan to help the user reduce and eventually stop smoking.

A Smart Device For Smokers

Slighter works by following the method known as Nicotine Fading, a smoking reduction technique that gradually reduces the number of cigarettes a smoker uses daily to condition the mind and body to become less reliant on nicotine.

The device creates and follows a schedule. A screen on the smart lighter displays a countdown to let the user know when they can smoke again. The device also disables the flame, preventing the user to smoke outside of the allotted time.

There is still a cheat button that allows the user to light a cigarette, but the device will remember and log it into the app. When it is time to smoke, the device will send the user a notification that will come as a haptic vibration, a sound, or the screen will light up.

"That's the science of behaviorism, which says that you can teach anything by a carefully designed program of step-by-step reinforcement," stated founder Samer El Gharib. "Whenever they become conditioned, the algorithm will discover that and we start removing notifications from their program."

According to the start-up, Beta testing showed that using the device resulted in a 40 percent reduction over a three-month period. Users reported experiencing fewer or no symptoms of withdrawal.

The technology seems promising, but it has one setback: it cannot help curb the habit of vaping. E-cigarettes do not require a lighter.

Smoking In The US

Smoking has declined over the past several years, but it is still a major problem in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 14 percent of all adults in the United States, or about 34.3 million Americans, were cigarette smokers in 2017.

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