Yesterday a friend sent a message that always brings joy. “I’m quitting smoking starting Friday.” The conversation then turned to different ways to prevent relapse. His idea was to get a pack of mini cigars — cigarillos. They’d be for extreme situations, since you can’t possibly smoke them often (and you don’t inhale them).
They’re also universally stale, so the taste would likely drive him further away. But then he revealed one aspect of smoking that I find so many smokers share: part of the addiction is keeping the hands busy. It would make sense, then, that a touchscreen phone could help keep hands busy when cigarette cravings appear.
The inspiration for this came from an app I found yesterday afternoon: Cigarette Fighter. It claims to help beat cigarette cravings by letting you “slice” a cigarette — basically tapping the touchscreen. Yet the app has a 2.2 average rating, and half of the people rated it one-star. After download the app really quick, the poor rating made sense.
It’s just not that fun. Moreover, there’s not enough forced interaction with the screen. There are better games to accomplish this end.
Balloon tapping games seem perfect for these purposes. They force you to tap the screen constantly, but in measured and purposeful ways. I particularly like Custom Action Tap, since it has the rage comics guy on it.
There isn’t too much of a difference between it and other balloon tap apps, so you can go through the market and find any one you want. The point isn’t the specific app, but rather the action of tapping the screen frequently and purposefully. That helps keep the hands engaged. It can be a wonderful outlet whenever a cigarette craving comes on. (It won’t stop the nicotine withdrawal, unfortunately.) Want to get your mind completely off cigarettes and wean yourself off of the focus on what your hands are doing? There are other ways to accomplish that.
I’ve been really digging BrainJiggle lately. It doesn’t involve the hands too much, but it takes your mind off of whatever was previously preoccupying it. I’ve never been a smoker, so I don’t know if it can take your mind of that specifically. My buddy is giving it a try, though. The general rule I found when talking to people about this is that an app focused on quitting cigarettes probably can’t help. It’s too narrow, and it likely misses much of the nuance involved in the addiction.
There are apps can help, but they’re not directly related to the topic of smoking. Apps that keep the hands or the mind busy will work less, because they help fill some of the voids associated with smoking cigarettes.