Kick the Habit

I have a confession to make: I’m a closet smoker. I had smoked before for a few years and quit right after I got married. Then, like a complete idiot, I picked up the habit again in the spring of last year.

I rarely smoke during the day. Instead, I wait until nighttime after my wife goes to bed. She knows I do it, but I still feel guilty if anyone sees me. It’s pretty sad, I know. And smoking is a disgusting habit – I know that too.

I’ve been trying to quit for a while now using the patch, but it really isn’t helping much. So instead, I decided to take a different approach.

In my last post I mentioned that I had taken a short break from working on Home Inventory code to write a little app for the iPhone/iPod Touch. Well, it finally works its way through the approval process and is now available on the App Store. It’s called Kick the Habit and it’s to help you, or more specifically, me, to quit smoking.

The idea for the app was based on a story my wife told me. She used to smoke before we met. When she and her roommate at the time (also a smoker) had finally decided they had enough and were ready to quit, they came up with a novel approach to help make sure they followed through: Whenever either of them felt the urge for a cigarette, they had to stop what they were doing immediately and do leg lunges. No matter where they were at, if the urge came on, they had to do it. In the middle of a restaurant, at work, out in the park, wherever. It served as both a distraction to take their minds off smoking and a form of punishment (let’s face it, doing leg lunges in the middle of T.G.I. Friday’s during the lunch rush is embarrassing). The best part, though, is that it worked. Neither my wife or her former roommate have smoked in years.

Kick the Habit builds on this idea. When you first start the app, you enter a list of distractions and punishments. Whenever you feel the desire to smoke, you ask it for a distraction and it picks one for you at random. If you break down and have a cigarette, you ask it for a punishment. If you are a smoker and want to quit, give it a try. I hope it helps you quit. I’m going to start using it tomorrow and hope it helps me too (I’ll post an update sometime next month on my progress). If you aren’t a smoker, do yourself a favor and never start.