Data-tracking necklace aims to help smokers kick their habit

(WGN) – Wearable tech is heating up and now scientists hope to empower smokers with personalized data and a necklace designed to kick a deadly habit.

Inside the habits lab at Northwestern Medicine in Evanston, Illinois, scientists mimic smoking while pondering a burning question:  What causes someone to successfully quit smoking?

The answer, they believe, is data-driven by tracking real-life actions, not self-reported usage.

That’s where the SmokeMon device comes in.

“We can tell how long the person placed the cigarette at the mouth,” said Dr. Nabil Alshurafa, a Northwestern Medicine Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine and Computer Science. “Things like our body, the cigarette, the lighter — all these things emit heat.”

The SmokeMon is worn around the neck, and sensors inside the device measure the thermal activity to determine the number of puffs, their duration and the time between each drag on the cigarette.

“All these things could potentially allow us to characterize that smoking behavior in a lot more fine detail,” Alshurafa said.

That could mean an even deeper understanding of tobacco exposure and disease. At the same time, the mechanics allow users to navigate their smoking topography — in other words, what causes them to light up, particularly those who relapse

“It could be that cup of coffee that triggered you to relapse. It could be that friend you hang out with,” Alshurafa said. “So we can begin to educate people a little bit more about what are these triggers that get them to slip.”

Researchers recently had their study on the SmokeMon published in an Association for Computing Machinery journal. The next step is to partner with smoking cessation programs and use the thermal data to trigger a timely intervention. 

“Psychologists have

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This Smart Necklace Helps Track Your Smoking Habits with Each Puff

This smart necklace will track every puff you smoke

This smart necklace will track every puff you smoke

Photo : iStock

Researchers have developed a smart necklace called ‘SmokeMon’ that helps keep a track of your smoking habits with every puff you smoke. The researchers at the Northwestern Medicine have developed a neck-wearable device that resembles a lapis blue pendant necklace that tracks heat when you smoke a cigarette. The necklace can also track how much a smoker inhales, and the time between puffs.
“We can detect when the cigarette is being lit, when the person holds it to their mouth and takes a puff, how much they inhale, how much time between puffs and how long they have the cigarette in their mouth, said senior investigator Nabil Alshurafa, associate professor at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
“For many people who attempt to quit smoking, a slip is one or two cigarettes or even a single puff. But a slip is not the same as a relapse (going back to smoking regularly). A person can learn from slips, by gaining awareness that they did not fail, they just had a temporary setback,” Alshurafa added.

With the SmokeMon smart necklace, users can gain a better understanding of the relationship between tobacco-related diseases such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung disease, diabetes, COPD, emphysema and chronic bronchitis by assessing chemical exposure.

The smart necklace has been developed to measure what’s called smoking topography which is essentially an assessment of how much carbon monoxide is a smoker exposed to and provides actionable insights to help those tryin to quit smoking.

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