In a groundbreaking survey studying the impact of online applications and social community support on health habits, the University of Southern California’s Institute for Communication Technology Management (CTM) and the USC Center for Body Computing (CBC) released results from a study examining their impact on smoking cessation.
Researchers surveyed 266 users of LIVESTRONG.COM’s MyQuit Coach, a mobile application that enables people to work toward their goal to quit smoking with the help of a smart cigarette tracking system and a supportive online community. The app was developed with the help of the USC Center for Body Computing, which researches and develops wireless health solutions. Majority of the survey respondents were between 31-50 years old and were attempting to quit a significant smoking habit. The program was used alone by some, and also in conjunction with other methods, such as acupuncture, prescription medication, and nicotine replacement therapy.
The study showed great promise for the positive impact social online community support can have in creating healthy habits. Over twice as many users who succeeded at quitting found benefits from being a part of a focused social network, as well as having access to interaction with that community at any time they needed it. More than 80 percent of successful users "received continuous positive feedback” and thought it ” was always there when they needed it." The MyQuit Coach survey found that the ability to immediately and continually track cigarette consumption along with encouragement and social support can lead to smoking cessation.