FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 3, 2013
For more information,
Contact: Amy Styles, Covenant
Jennifer Lawson, Moxley Carmichael
Smoking is one of the toughest addictions to break due to its physical and psychological components. The Covenant Health “Stop Smoking” app incorporates evidenced-based quitting strategies in an easy-to-use program that can be downloaded free on iPhones the first week of January, and on Android phones in mid-January.
“As part of our not-for-profit mission, we are continually looking for ways to reduce the rate of smoking in East Tennessee and improve health,” said Jon Dalton, M.A., member of Covenant Health’s smoking cessation task force and manager of Parkwest Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation, where he sees firsthand the long-term detrimental health effects of smoking. “We hope the app will help more people, especially young adults, quit smoking.”
Through a grant from the Will Rogers Institute, Covenant Health’s seven acute care hospitals provide extensive stop smoking education, including free community programs. While the classes have a high success rate, overall participation has been on the downturn. Dalton believes the decline is partly due to a more mobile society. To counter this phenomenon, he suggested creating the smoking cessation app.
“Education is key to quitting, but it really has to fit in with somebody’s lifestyle,” Dalton said. “Today people want information when they need it and on their own schedule. As health educators, we need to adapt and be more flexible in how we provide education for our patients and public.”
Dalton said the smoking cessation app functions like a virtual class, with the added convenience of providing support, information and guidance any time of the day or night. A life preserver flotation device serves as the app’s icon.
“We have taken the science regarding smoking cessation strategies and created an app that allows you to customize a quit plan based on your personal smoking habits,” he said.
Once a user downloads the free app, he/she enters their personal data and smoking history, such as the number of cigarettes they smoke a day. Based on this information, the app recommends a timeline for quitting. The user can accept, change or adjust the timeline. Once the quit date is determined, the “life saver” app eases users into the stop smoking plan, suggesting a reduced number of cigarettes each day and tips for countering the urge to smoke with a healthful activity or other tried-and-true quit strategy. Once a smoker quits, the app rewards him/her by calculating the number of days and years added back to their life and amount saved by not buying cigarettes.
Dalton said that Covenant Health hospitals would continue to provide community classes and quit kits to patients who express a desire to quit smoking. In addition, Covenant Health offers comprehensive cardiopulmonary rehabilitation programs at six hospital locations. The therapy helps patients diagnosed with heart or lung disease, such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), learn how to make lifestyle changes to help reduce health risk and improve quality of life.
For more information and links to download the app, visit www.covenanthealth.com/stopsmoking or call Covenant Health at 865-541-4500.
About Covenant Health
Covenant Health is a not-for-profit health system providing comprehensive health services throughout East Tennessee. Headquartered in Knoxville, Covenant Health includes eight hospitals as well as numerous outpatient health care services, physician offices and wellness programs. Covenant Health has more than 10,000 employees, volunteers and affiliated physicians.