A new quit-smoking app helps calculate how much money you save by avoiding cigarettes, and sends a gentle reminder about quitting whenever you walk into one of hundreds of convenience stores around Colorado.
The "Tobacco Quit and Save" app, unique to Colorado, uses GPS information from your phone to tell when you're near a store selling cigarettes, and also sends reminders that drinking alcohol can weaken your resolve to quit. The free app for both iPhone and Android mobile devices was created by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
The app's developers say it's the first of its kind produced by a public health agency, and its $35,000 cost was covered by existing anti-smoking funding. It's modeled on apps and devices such as RunKeeper and FitBit that remind people to exercise and eat healthy.
State officials say tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in Colorado. One in six residents smokes cigarettes, and more than half of smokers say they want to quit, according to the state. A "pack-a-day" smoker spends nearly $2,000 per year on cigarettes, state officials said.
"Tobacco use costs Colorado too many lives and too much money," Dr. Larry Wolk, the state's chief medical officer said in a statement.
The app also allows users to share their successes on Twitter and Facebook, and helps track how long it's been since a user smoked a cigarette.