The Impact of Digital Transformation on the Accessibility and Success of Smoking Cessation

While it’s clear that digital transformation has enabled various industries to boost operational efficiency and overall business success, it has also been essential in improving the quality of life through better health outcomes. For instance, a previous post entitled ‘Digital Approach To Mental Health Ecosystem Development’ illustrates how the digital revolution has enabled mental health apps to reach a total projected market value of $26 billion by 2027. Considering over a fifth (21.6) of the United States population is in need of mental health treatment, these apps help expand access to essential care services and support programs through tools for mindfulness and meditation, online therapy, and self-assessment.

However, beyond mental health treatment, another significant public health concern is tobacco use. Since smoking contributes to millions of deaths and diseases annually, there must be increased access to evidence-based smoking cessation interventions. Fortunately, digital transformation has also proven itself to be instrumental in boosting the accessibility and success of various approaches that help smokers live healthier, smoke-free lifestyles, as discussed below.

The need for effective smoking cessation

Establishing the need for effective smoking cessation approaches starts with an overview of current smoking prevalence. While a recent report from the World Health Organization notes that tobacco use is declining globally, the decrease in smoking rates is still not as much as hoped. There are currently 1.25 billion adult tobacco users, representing a 22% smoking prevalence, but the target is about 18% by 2030.

Even in the United States, the numbers have gone down, but there remains work to be done in reducing smoking rates. The US smoking prevalence of about 20% runs close to the global average, but the data is also insufficient as it doesn’t include the recent spike in the use of electronic cigarettes. Considering e-cigarettes can also harm one’s health and increase the risk of chronic conditions like lung disease, these prevailing trends urge smokers and vapers to quit, mainly with the help of tech-driven approaches discussed in the next section.

Tech-driven smoking cessation approaches

Smokeless alternatives in e-commerce platforms

In recent years, smokeless products have emerged as viable alternatives to tobacco, relieving nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms during the cessation process. Among the effective products in the smokeless category are nicotine pouches. An article in the European Journal of Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics reveals how they replicate cigarette smokers' nicotine uptake, thus making them viable during the transition to a smoke-free lifestyle.

Interestingly, these products have significantly grown in popularity and adoption due to their availability on e-commerce platforms. When browsing for nicotine pouches on Prilla, consumers can choose from a broad selection of quality brands like ZYN and VELO, flavors based on mint, fruits, and exotic foods, and strengths that match their nicotine needs. Moreover, the retailer further makes pouches accessible by shipping directly from its warehouse to almost anywhere in the US.

Nicotine replacement therapy with quit smoking apps

Smokers also have the option to try nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), another evidence-based approach that uses pharmacology to directly deliver fixed nicotine doses into the bloodstream and thus curb cravings. Among the popular NRT brands is the manufacturer Nicorette, which offers oral products like gums and lozenges to help break cravings and reduce quit attempts.

Besides offering its range of oral NRTs in various strengths, such as 2mg and 4mg, Nicorette also provides behavioral support through its proprietary quit-smoking app, Stop Smoking. Since quit success is associated with starting a plan and setting achievable goals, the mobile app helps users personalize their quit plan and track their progress throughout the cessation journey.

Web- and phone-based tobacco cessation programs

Lastly, tobacco cessation programs focused on changing smoking behaviors and patterns and replacing them with healthier habits have also become more accessible with the advent of technology. To start, the government-funded platform offers free information on smoking cessation and creating a quit plan while also linking smokers to essential resources for counseling and motivational coaching.

To address the disproportionate risks and consequences of smoking on minority groups like Native Americans, the initiative has also joined forces with the Indian HealthService for a free texting program that provides more culturally tailored advice on smoking cessation.

Overall, technology is evidently addressing the barriers to accessible and successful smoking cessation, mainly by helping smokers address their cravings in healthier, more sustainable ways. However, health systems and professionals must work harder to increase smokers’ awareness and utilization of said technologies for better cessation outcomes. Continue reading the NimbleTech website for more insightful articles on all things tech.

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