A new iPhone app that helps people to stop smoking was launched yesterday by Public Health Minister Gillian Merron.

To coincide with 'No Smoking Day' on the 10 March, the Department of Health has released the first official NHS 'Quit Smoking' app for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Available from iTunes, smokefree.nhs and NHS Choices, it will:

- Provide daily hints and tips to manage cravings;
- Keep a running tally on how much money quitters have saved since they stopped smoking;
- Track the number of days, hours and minutes since quitting;
- Include a direct link to the stop smoking helpline so they can speak with an adviser when they need to;
- Help find local NHS Stop Smoking Services.

Public Health Minister Gillian Merron said:

"Quitting smoking takes a lot of effort and willpower. It is the single best thing you can do to improve your health - significantly reducing the risk of serious conditions such as lung cancer and heart disease.

"Smokers who quit using free NHS support are up to four times more likely to be successful. This new app is one of the many innovative ways the Government is helping people quit for good and follows the great success of the recently launched Quit Kits, which give smokers the right tools to stop smoking.

"Our vision is to become a nation that is smokefree and last month we launched an ambitious strategy to halve the number of smokers by 2020."

Smoking prematurely kills over 80,000 people in England each year and costs the NHS up to £2.7 billion a year.

Deborah Arnott, from charity ASH, said:

"Around two thirds of smokers want to quit and try time and again. So using modern technology to help them finally achieve that goal is a welcome idea."

For those that do not have an iPhone or iPod touch, they can text the word calculator to 64746 to receive information on an NHS Choices smoking calculator.

A similar application launched in December by the NHS to help people keep track of their alcohol intake has been downloaded 65,000 times so far.

Source
Department of Health, UK

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