Dr. Elizabeth Ann Edwards, MBBS, MRCP, MRCGP, DFRSH
Elizabeth is currently an In-Practice Fellow at Bart’s and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry in London, UK. She is also a practicing General Practitioner. Elizabeth is a member of the ‘Smoking Treatment Optimisation in Pharmacies’ (STOP) research team within the Centre for Primary Care and Public Health at the Blizard Institute. Elizabeth has a keen interest in gamification, M-Health and using digital Interventions to facilitate smoking cessation.
Elizabeth has recently published a paper in BMJ open, entitled ‘Gamification for health promotion: systematic review of behaviour change techniques in smartphone apps’. The systematic review looks at the use of gamification in health and wellness apps and examines the use of embedded behaviour change techniques.
Cigbreak- a novel smartphone game for smoking cessation
Cigbreak is a smartphone game designed to aid smokers to quit. It has been co-created with doctors, app developers, health psychologists and computer scientists from Bart’s and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry and Kingston University in consultation with smokers and smoking cessation services. Cigbreak contains 37 validated behaviour change techniques and was developed in accordance with the British Standard Institute Code of Practice for Health and Wellness app development.
The game involves players breaking cigarettes, reinforcing the confidence that they will be able to ‘break the habit’, as well as aiding as a distraction from smoking. Smokers progress on a journey along a path through a garden to a smoke-free finish line. Players are continually rewarded with health messages and trophies on completing levels and are provided with personalised feedback. Player’s progress can be shared on Facebook, providing social support. Missions deliver quit support information and tasks, for example, contacting their local pharmacy for advice on nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). NRT power-ups inform players of the different NRT available and encourage pharmacological support.
Cigbreak has been developed iteratively through feedback from smokers in focus groups. A wide range of ages and ethnicities was represented and included difficult to reach smokers, routine and manual workers and adolescents. Excitingly, players found the app an engaging and motivating way to gain smoking cessation advice and provided helpful distraction from smoking.
Cigbreak was launched on the Apple/Google play stores in January 2016 and commissioned by Public Health authorities in five London boroughs.