Pharma insight on digital marketing, social media, mobile apps, online video, websites and interactive healthcare tools
by Dominic Tyer
The European Commission has stepped up its anti-smoking efforts and moved its Ex-smokers are Unstoppable campaign into a new phase.
This sees the launch of the EC's new iOS and Android mobile app for its iCoach digital health coaching platform, which uses behavioural change theory to help individuals stop smoking.
The free Exsmokers iCoach app offers daily tips and advice on how to stop smoking, as well as tailored feedback and motivation and a 'panic button' to help users get through moments when the urge to smoke is at its highest.
One of its points of differentiation from other digital health tools is that the iCoach's focus includes those unwilling to quit and those with a high relapse risk.
Users are presented with a brief questionnaire that assesses their behaviour, attitude and motivation and then determines their position in a five-phase stop smoking process. This ranges from 'I do not plan to stopping' all the way up to 'I have stopped for some time now'.
Available in all 23 official EU languages, the iCoach online platform was launched last year and the EC says it has since been used by more than 220,000 people and that more than 30 per cent of them quit smoking.
One third of people in Europe smoke and tobacco is the single largest cause of avoidable illness in the European Union.
Earlier this month the European Commission's deputy director of general health and consumers Martin Seychell called on governments to do more to lower the number of smokers or risk an overwhelming chronic disease problem.
Speaking at the European Respiratory Society (ERS) Annual Congress in Vienna, Austria, Seychell described smoking as the “single most avoidable cause of death”.
He said anti-smoking plans should be part of any global response to tackle chronic diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), cancer and cardiovascular disease.