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Researchers develop app to help smokeless tobacco users quit

Posted on 8 June 2016

Researchers in the Department of Health Sciences at the University of York have developed an app to help users of smokeless tobacco quit.

The Stop Smokeless Tobacco app can be downloaded by health professionals to assist their clients give up the deadly habit.

Smokeless tobacco (SLT) is placed in the mouth or nose and chewed, sucked or applied to gums and teeth.

Previous research by the Department of Health Sciences has revealed that, worldwide, more than a quarter of a million people die each year from using smokeless tobacco.   

The UK has large populations who use smokeless tobacco, and it is particularly popular among people of South Asian origin.

The app, which can be downloaded for free, features:

  • A step-by-step quit tobacco programme taking clients through their pre-quit, quit and post-quit stages
  • Interactive slides aimed at challenging common beliefs related to chewing tobacco
  • Sixteen informative slides explaining the detrimental effects of chewing smokeless tobacco
  • Multiple languages supported including: English, Urdu, Hindi, Gujerati, Nepali and Bengali

Dr Omara Dogar, a research fellow in the Department of Health Sciences, said: “We feel this app could make a real difference in helping many thousands of people addicted to smokeless tobacco give up.

“Peer pressure, family acceptance, medicinal use, easy access, low price, lack of regulation and advertising all contribute to its widespread use.

“The use of smokeless tobacco places a significant burden on health systems around the world and we feel this app could provide real assistance to health professionals working to break that addiction.”

Notes to editors:

  • The app was developed as part of a bespoke Behaviour Change Intervention (BCI) project and was piloted in Pakistan and in the UK among SLT users.
  • The project was funded by the Medical Research Council’s Public Health Interventions Development Scheme (PHIND).
  • The app will be launched at UK Nicotine and Smoking Cessation Conference (UKNSCC) Conference in London on June 10.

The app can be downloaded here:

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