Crave Out! helps distract smokers from tobacco cravings

Now ex-smokers looking for a distraction from nicotine cravings can play “Crave Out!,” a new game app for iPhone and iPad conceived and created by members of the Health Informatics and Implementation Science Division in the Department of Quantitative Health Sciences (QHS). 

Crave Out! is a component of the Quality Improvement in Tobacco-Provider Referrals and Internet-delivered Microsystem Optimization (QUIT-PRIMO) grant from the National Cancer Institute, led by principal investigator Thomas Houston II, MD, MPH, professor of quantitative health sciences and medicine. 

The game app is one of a number of smoking cessation tools available on the website developed by QUIT-PRIMO,, where primary care providers can register patients who smoke, are trying to quit, or have already quit. Influenced by already popular games like Angry Birds and Simon, Crave Out! uses a system of increasingly difficult levels of play designed to keep players engaged long enough—in the case of ex-smokers—for a nicotine craving to pass. The game challenges players with progressively longer and varied sequences of different colored fruits to be caught in a bucket that players move under a cascade of falling fruits. “We used input from ex-smokers to help create the look of game,” noted Wayne Chan, lead game engineer. “They didn’t want anything that reminds them of cigarettes, so we switched from our original white cylinders and eggs, to the colored fruit concept.” 

Click on the link below for a glimpse at how engaging, fun—and reinforcing for ex-smokers—Crave Out! can be.

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