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This Digital Lighter Tracks and Limits Your Cigarette Use to Help You Quit Smoking

Alyssa Bereznak
National Correspondent, Technology
Yahoo Tech
May 14, 2014

This Digital Lighter Tracks and Limits Your Cigarette Use to Help You Quit Smoking

Alyssa Bereznak
National Correspondent, Technology
Yahoo Tech
May 14, 2014

This smart lighter, seeking Kickstarter funding, counts and restricts your cigarette usage. (Quitbit)

For some, the absolute first priority in self improvement is breaking a smoking habit. That’s why Quitbit, a lighter that counts and limits the number of cigarettes you have per day, is so refreshingly practical.

This Kickstarter project goes straight to the source of your bad habit: the thing you use to light your cigarettes. You can program the device to allow only a certain number of cigarettes per day at certain intervals. If you go to light another but have reached your limit for that day or time period, it simply won’t work.

The $69 device uses a heating element similar to that of a car lighter. It’s equipped with a sensor technology that logs how long it’s being used. It’ll log your usage only if it meets a certain trigger, which is currently rounded out at around 2½ seconds. It’ll also log only one use in the interval of three minutes. This enables it to track only your smoking. So even if you share it with friends or play with it, you won’t have to worry that you’re screwing with the program. 

You might wonder: Why don’t I just use that money to buy some nicotine patches? Or an e-cigarette? Nicotine patches, as you might know, are often prohibitively expensive. A two-week supply goes for around $50. E-cigarettes, meanwhile, are prohibitively uncool-looking for many.

Quitbit co-founder Ata Ghofrani, a seven-year smoker who used the device to quit smoking six months ago, says the product is meant as a complementary tool, rather than a replacement to those methods.

“We think that our product is very much like a scale,” Ghofrani told Yahoo Tech. “You can use Quitbit to reduce your smoking completely, if you want to do it based on will power, or you can also use it to slowly reduce, while using other things to help.”

Still, neither nicotine patches nor e-cigarettes give you what Quitbit does: information. The smart lighter funnels all of your usage habits into an easy-to-read display screen, which tells you how many cigarettes you’ve smoked that day, and how long it’s been since your last one. That data syncs via Bluetooth to your Android or iOS device, so that you can check your habit even if you happen to forget your lighter.

Having it connect to your phone can also have practical benefits. You won’t lose your lighter, because your phone tracks its location. And you can monitor how much money you’ve saved as you’re cutting back.

And if you just can’t help but complain a little about being denied a precious cigarette break, you can always chat with a community of people in the support room of the Quitbit smartphone app. Hey, you might not think it’s your thing, but it’s a tried-and-true method for weaning people off of addictions. 

The Quitbit has yet to be fully funded, though the project has raised a little over a fifth of its monetary target within its first 48 hours of launching. It’s currently offering December 2014 deliveries for all $79 donations. Seven months is a long time to wait to quit smoking. But if you don’t see any better alternatives in the near future, why not try it out? Better this than a Nike FuelBand that’ll collect dust in a corner.

Follow Alyssa Bereznak on Twitter or email her here.