31 December 2008
By installing Quitclock, ex-smokers get positive feedback and the support of their friends which should encourage them to keep going
Keeping the toughest New Year's resolution of them all could be made a little easier for Facebook users today. A new application, designed to help ex-smokers, has been released by Bupa. "Quitclock" appears on your profile and displays how much money you have saved and how long it is since you quit smoking.
By targeting users of the popular social networking site, Bupa hopes to reach a younger audience of ex-smokers and support them once they have quit. Two-thirds of smokers start before the age of 18, and smoking is highest among 20 to 24 year olds.
"Seven out of 10 smokers want to give up, but it isn't an easy process," explains Dr Annabel Bentley, Bupa's Assistant Medical Director. "By installing Quitclock, ex-smokers get positive feedback and the support of their friends which should encourage them to keep going."
Quitclock counts how long it is since you stopped smoking and calculates how much money you have saved in dollars, euros or sterling. Your online friends can then see how well you are doing and leave you messages of support. People who stopped smoking in the past can backdate the clock to see how much they have saved since they quit.
Alastair McQueen, who led the project, explained: "Quitclock is the first Facebook application Bupa has released. It's a new way to engage people who use social networking sites and who want to stop smoking."
"I personally stopped smoking around eight months ago and it's really satisfying to see Quitclock tallying up the money I have saved," he adds.