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An Apple App a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

Posted May 08 2009 6:05pm

So, a couple of weeks ago I read a fascinating article in the New York Times Sunday newspaper about people making small fortunes developing applications for the iPhone.

Now these “apps” as they are commonly called can be anything from video games you can play on the phone to fun screen effects  or even stupid apps - one recently recalled one - “Baby Shaker” - allowed users to “shake” a baby until it died. Tasteful eh! But all had one thing in common, every time someone downloaded one it sent money straight into the makers account. As they say in my old stomping grounds in London, “nice little earner eh!”

But not all the Apps designed for the iPhone are designed to make money, one at least can help you kick a nasty and deadly habit;  it can help you stop smoking.

It’s called “My QuitLine” and it was developed by the George Washington University’s School of Public Health and Health Services - try saying that in a hurry if you smoke 20 ciggies a day.

“My QuitLine” connects you to the National Cancer Institute’s quitline service where would-be ex-smokers can get advice from a coach on how to stop or get regular text message updates to help them stay on course.

Now, just linking you from your phone to another service might seem like a waste of time but the QuitLine counseling has been shown to double your odds of kicking the habit. That’s a pretty impressive number, particularly when you consider that it takes the average smoker six attempts before they finally quit. If you can double your odds, just by using your phone, you can halve the time it takes to quit.

And what’s even cooler is that it’s all free to download.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure I have to admit that while I don’t have an iPhone or any stock in Apple I do use a Mac at home. However, I typed this at work on a regular old - and I do mean old - PC.

Just don’t tell my boss.

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