Phone App Helps E-Smokers Track Their Habit

PHOTO: The Smokio app uses Bluetooth technology to monitor the users vaping activity.Smokio
The Smokio app uses Bluetooth technology to monitor the user's vaping activity.

A new app claims to turn your e-smoking device into a smart cigarette.

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The free app by the makers of Smokio Electronic cigarettes is designed to connect its e-smoking device to any smartphone, allowing the user to keep track of “vaping” activity, the word e-smokers use to describe puffing out vapor on an electronic cigarette.

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“This free app tracks where you vape, when you vape and the equivalent consumption of those nasty cigarettes you used to smoke,” a promotional video for the app on the company’s website says.

Smokio CEO and co-founder Alex Prot said that the app and e-smoke device combo are meant to motivate smokers to quit the same way fitness trackers like Fitbit and Jawbone motivate exercisers to move.

“The purpose of the app is to help people know how much they’re smoking which is the first step towards cutting back or quitting,” he said.

But that assertion may skim the edges of a Food and Drug Administration rule that forbids sellers from marketing e-cigarettes as a way to kick the habit.

An FDA spokeswoman said that the agency does not comment on specific products but any e-cigarette seller representing their product as a smoking cessation method without FDA approval could be subject to FDA enforcement action. She added that most apps used by consumers for “wellness” purposes are not regulated.

Prot claims that the app takes some of the same information the American Cancer Society uses to encourage people to quit smoking and features it in a series of graphs intended to show health improvements such as the “heart rejuvenation” and “increased lung capacity” that come from smoking fewer cigarettes.

The assertions, however, may be misleading.

“The benefits noted in the app are based on not using any tobacco products,” explained Lee Westmaas, the director, Tobacco Control Research for the ACS.

Westmaas added that the potential long-term harms of e-cigs are still unknown. There is not yet enough science to prove that e-smokes are a healthier choice than tobacco cigarettes – and there is no certainly no evidence that e-smoking is healthier than not smoking at all, according to the FDA.

An estimated 4 million Americans now use e-cigarettes, according to the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association.

Prot said that a few thousand people have downloaded the app since it went live last year. The compatible e-smoking device costs around $80.