The World’s First Smart Lighter for Quitting Smoking
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The World’s First Smart Lighter for Quitting Smoking


ways to quit smoking

This post was originally published on May 20, 2014.

A couple of Brown University alums have launched a kickstarter campaign to fund “the world’s first smart lighter.” The QuitBit, as it’s called, looks a bit like your iPhone’s little brother. And that’s exactly how it will function—using Bluetooth to communicate with an app for iOS or Android. Through the app, smokers can track their habit over the course of days, weeks and months. It also has a community feature, which any addict knows can be integral to quitting. Even without the phone app, the QuitBit still counts the times you light up, and you can set it to stop functioning after your fifth, 10th or 16th cigarette that day.

How It Works

The flameless lighter works through a heat coil and runs on a lithium battery that requires weekly charging. Supposedly, it can somehow tell whether you’re actually lighting up or just lending it to that friend who always bums cigs off you because she’s in denial. The makers mention that the QuitBit also works with e-cigs, nicotine gum or patches, although you’ve got to admit the whole lighter element is wasted in those contexts. You might as well use it to keep track of lines of coke or Girl Scout Cookies.

Not only are the QuitBit dudes experienced with developing hardware and software, they’re also successful habit-kickers. The idea for the project was born when one of the co-founders was trying to quit smoking and his then-classmate asked how much he smoked per day. His frustration over not knowing sparked a business partnership, and he actually did stop smoking using their QuitBit prototypes.

The Jury’s Still Out

Will the QuitBit actually help people quit? For some, it probably will. It worked for the first test case, but as the device’s inventor he was probably invested in its success. For some people all it takes is a little mindfulness to take control of their behavior. For others, quantifying their habit may not be enough to actually get them to change. The slogan “If you can measure it, you can manage it” might hold true for people who aren’t otherwise inclined towards addiction, but when I played a similar game with booze before getting sober, counting my drinks only got me so far. Once I’d gone a sip past my daily maximum I came down with a bad case of the “fuck-its,” and the night would usually end in a bathroom somewhere. Even the best-intentioned addicts lie and cheat, and though the QuitBit may be smart, you can still outsmart it. If I’d programmed my lighter to shut down after my fifth smoke, it wouldn’t be too hard to duck into CVS and buy a Bic without my poor wronged QuitBit being the wiser. And then there’s the fact that at the end of the day, the QuitBit is still a lighter. But it’s a noble idea and at the very least would be great to whip out at parties.

Currently, the team is busy making QuitBit fully Bluetooth compatible but they’ve already begun small-batch manufacturing the lighters and pledged to ship the product to their supporters this December. A standalone version of the app is already available for iOS, so if you’re ready to keep track of your daily cigs—or your Thin Mints—it’s free.

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About Author

Erica Larsen AKA Eren Harris blogs at Whitney Calls and Clean Bright Day. Their writing has also been published on Salon, Selfish, Violet Rising and YourTango. They live in Los Angeles with their husband and their enormous cat.