Sunday, April 14, 2024

Smart neck-worn device to help you stop smoking

Cigarette smoking remains the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death worldwide. Cigarette smoke includes thousands of chemicals that are harmful and cause tobacco-related diseases.

To date, the causality between human exposure to specific compounds and their harmful effects is unknown. A first step in closing the gap in knowledge has been measuring smoking topography, or how the smoker smokes the cigarette (puffs, puff volume, and duration). However, current gold-standard approaches to smoking topography involve expensive, bulky, and obtrusive sensor devices, preventing their potential for real-time interventions in the wild.

Now, Northwestern Medicine researchers have developed a smart neck-worn device resembling a lapis blue pendant that detects a user’s smoking much more reliably than previous systems.

The pendant-shaped monitoring device, known as the SmokeMon, incorporates thermal sensors which continuously track the heat of a lit cigarette as it travels to and from the user’s mouth.

Scientists trained a deep learning-based machine model to detect smoking events along with their smoking topography, including things like the timing of a puff, number of puffs, puff duration, puff volume, inter-puff interval, and smoking duration.

“For many people who attempt to quit smoking, a slip is one or two cigarettes or even a single puff,” said senior investigator Nabil Alshurafa, associate professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “But a slip is not the same as a relapse (going back to smoking regularly). A person can learn from slips by gaining awareness that they did not fail; they just had a temporary setback. To avoid a relapse, we can then begin to shift their focus on how we handle their triggers and deal with cravings.”

Existing devices that track smoking topography must be attached to the cigarette, which changes how a person smokes and makes the data less reliable.

The SmokeMon completely maintains a smoker’s privacy, only tracking heat, not visuals – which is a critical factor for people to feel comfortable wearing it.

Researchers evaluated SmokeMon in both controlled and free-living experiments with a total of 19 participants, more than 110 hours of data, and 115 smoking sessions. They also ran three focus groups with 18 tobacco-treatment specialists to understand how they felt about the device.

“These real-time measurements can really help us understand the depth a person is at in their smoking habits and treat the patient accordingly,” One smoking cession specialist commented.

Journal reference:

  1. Rawan Alharbi, Soroush Shahi, Stefany Cruz, Lingfeng Li, Sougata Sen, Mahdi Pedram, Christopher Romano, Josiah Hester, Aggelos K. Katsaggelos, Nabil Alshurafa. SmokeMon: Unobtrusive Extraction of Smoking Topography Using Wearable Energy-Efficient Thermal. Proceedings of the ACM on Interactive Mobile Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies, 2023. DOI: 10.1145/3569460