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A smart lighter that tracks your smoking habits

Posting in Healthcare

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A smart lighter project combines fitness tracking technology and monitoring to make smokers more aware of their habits -- and potentially help them quit.

You're in a garden enjoying the sunshine, or you've had a tough day. Sometimes, you smoke more than usual, and may lose track of how many you're puffing. However, a device inspired by fitness tracking gadgets such as the Nike+ Fuelband and Jawbone aims to make you aware of how many you've had -- and give you a quota to stick to.

The $89 Quitbit, currently raising funds through crowdfunding website Kickstarter, is a lighter which tracks how many cigarettes you smoke during the day. The Quitbit uses data analytics and Bluetooth to connect up to your mobile device and display your smoking habits through graphics, graphs and charts. The lighter's screen also reveals when you last had a cigarette.

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For those looking to quit, understanding how many you smoke a day is important, especially if you plan to cut down gradually rather than go cold turkey. However, another Quitbit feature may not prove as popular.

The lighter includes an optional limiter which sets how many times the heating element will work in 24 hour periods, coupled with a reduction algorithm to encourage you to cut down. Co-creator Ata Ghofrani told Co. Design:

"If someone wants a cigarette and Quitbit doesn't work, chances are they'll just use another lighter. We give people the choice to set up those limits, so they can be accountable when they reach their targets."

Some may argue that without a true limiter, the entire design is misguided. However, you can also argue that the Quitbit is not designed to force you to quit, but rather make you aware of your habits, which can help you cut down. Forcing people to quit won't work, they have to want to do it, and by understanding your personal limits and tolerances, tracking your habit can have value.

Whether you would spend so much on a lighter to achieve this, however, isn't so clear-cut.

See also: E-cigarettes and vaping: A debate beyond nicotine addiction

At the time of writing, the Kickstarter campaign has attracted 521 backers, and raised $37,460 pledged of a $50,000 goal, with 21 days remaining.

Read on: Fast Co.Design

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— By on May 21, 2014, 2:04 AM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure