UbiQUITous provides smokers with free online quit assistance while deepening the research about the usability and success of quit smoking apps

Release Date:

December 18, 2012

Washington, DC - Research demonstrates that more than 10 million adults annually search for quitting smoking information online, but only a third of searchers reach evidence-based interventions, and even fewer will take advantage of social support recommended by clinical guidelines for treatment. As part of an innovative 3-year project, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), The Schroeder Institute at Legacy have developed a new Facebook app that will both help smokers quit as well as provide data about how people quit smoking on social networks like Facebook.   

UbiQUITous is currently the only evidence-based app on Facebook dedicated to helping users quit smoking. The development of UbiQUITous capitalized on more than a decade of work and experience by Schroeder Institute and Legacy staff, including the design, development and evaluation of the largest and best known online social networks for smoking cessation - BecomeAnEX.org and QuitNet.com.  

"Instead of encouraging smokers to join networks of other quitters, UbiQUITous helps smokers build a support network out of their own friends and family on Facebook," said Dr. Nathan Cobb, lead researcher and developer of the app. "This Facebook-based study is unique in how it will help public health researchers understand how a quitting smoking tool 'goes viral' through clusters of smokers online, and what conditions make a public health intervention most likely to spread between individuals."  

The app leverages the power of a smoker's social network to help them quit smoking by posting their daily quit progress to their Facebook timeline, and directly notifying supporters on big quit milestones (like the day they quit smoking, or when they hit one week smoke-free). This way, friends and family immediately know when to send a quitter 'congratulations!' and words of support. UbiQUITous also provides tailored information on quitting, integrated social support, and proactive contact to users. Users will receive awards for reaching quit milestones, and have access to tracking mechanisms that show how much money they save by quitting and their continuous quitting progress. The app, which is currently available on Facebook, will recruit at least 12,000 users between mid-December 2012 and mid-March 2013.  

Smokers looking to quit this season can download the app by visiting: http://apps.facebook.com/quitlab Users will assist research on quitting smoking via social networks as well as received free quit assistance via the app.

About Legacy:
Legacy helps people live longer, healthier lives by building a world where young people reject tobacco and anyone can quit. Legacy's proven-effective and nationally recognized public education programs include truth, the national youth smoking prevention campaign that has been cited as contributing to significant declines in youth smoking; EX, an innovative public health program designed to speak to smokers in their own language and change the way they approach quitting; and research initiatives exploring the causes, consequences and approaches to reducing tobacco use. Located in Washington, D.C., the foundation was created as a result of the November 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) reached between attorneys general from 46 states, five U.S. territories and the tobacco industry. To learn more about Legacy's life-saving programs, visit www.LegacyForHealth.org.

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Contact: Sarah Shank, 202-454-5561; sshank@legacyforhealth.org