Smart Necklace That Tracks Your Every Puff

As smokers wore the device, scientists trained a deep learning-based machine model to detect smoking events along with their smoking topography, including things like timing of a puff, number of puffs, puff duration, puff volume, inter-puff interval, and smoking duration. They also ran three focus groups with 18 tobacco-treatment specialists to understand how they felt about the device.

“This goes way beyond how many cigarettes a person smokes per day. We can detect when the cigarette is being lit, when the person holds it to their mouth and takes a puff, how much they inhale, how much time between puffs, and how long they have the cigarette in their mouth,” said senior investigator Nabil Alshurafa, associate professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.


These real-time measurements can really help researchers understand the depth a person is at in their smoking habits and treat the patient accordingly.

Importance of Smoking Topography

Smoking topography is how the smoker smokes the cigarette, which includes the puff volume, duration, and flow among others. All these details are important for two reasons.

Firstly, it allows scientists to measure and assess the amount of harmful carbon monoxide exposure among smokers. It helps researchers understand the relationship between chemical exposure and tobacco-related diseases including cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung disease, diabetes, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis better.

Secondly, it can help people in their efforts to quit smoking by understanding how smoking topography relates to relapse, which is the act of going back to smoking regularly. Relapse is very common in people who try to quit the habit.

Information from the necklace can be used to predict when a person will relapse and when to intervene with a phone call from a health coach, for example, or even a smartphone text or video message to help encourage them to prevent a relapse. The scientists also plan to study the effectiveness of the device in detecting smoking puffs and topography from electronic cigarettes.

“We want to catch them before they completely fall off the wagon,” Alshurafa said. “Once they do, it’s much harder for them to quit again.”

For many people who attempt to quit smoking, a slip is one or two cigarettes or even a single puff. 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, health professionals can then begin to shift their focus on how to handle their triggers and deal with cravings.

“Now we can begin to test the effectiveness of this device in improving the success rate of smoking cessation programs by preventing relapse in smokers who are planning to quit,” Alshurafa said. “We will be able to test whether real-time feedback and interventions can be more effective than usual care.”

Few Puffs to Death

Globally, more than 8 million deaths are attributed to smoking each year. Smoking remains a leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the U.S., accounting for more than 480,000 deaths every year or one in five deaths. It was estimated to cost the U.S. more than $600 billion in 2018, which combined health care spending and lost productivity. In the U.S., 12.5% of adults smoke.

Other Devices to Detect Smoking

Existing devices that track smoking topography must be attached to the cigarette, which changes how a person smokes and makes the data less reliable. Some researchers have investigated non-intrusive ways to measure smoking behavior, including the use of wrist-worn inertial measurement unit sensors in smartwatches.

However, such approaches are often confounded by non-smoking hand-to-mouth gestures and consequently, generate many false positives. Another option, wearable video cameras, creates privacy and stigma concerns, limiting the applicability of camera-based approaches in natural settings.

Reference :

  1. SmokeMon: Unobtrusive Extraction of Smoking Topography Using Wearable Energy-Efficient Thermal – (

Source: Medindia

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