TRAD Smoking-Cessation Work in the News

Tue January 24, 2017

The WISC-TV’s News 3 broadcast on January 17, 2017 and associated article featured a University of Wisconsin Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention (UW-CTRI) study, which includes a custom home screen developed by Teaching & Research Application Development (TRAD) to give participants access to Android games.

Led by Dr. Tanya Schlam, the study called “Can Smartphone Games Help Smokers Quit?” focuses on how the combination of medication, cessation counseling and playing video games can help people quit smoking. Participants in the study were encouraged to play games on their smartphone when they felt cravings as a way to distract them.

TRAD created a custom home screen for Android devices that was pre-populated with a collection of commercial games as well as prompts for participants to report their tobacco usage. This set-up allowed the research team to measure cravings that users were experiencing before and after the game was played, track how long a game was played and set limits on the amount of time between play sessions in accordance with study parameters.

“It was a rewarding project to work on not only due to the technical challenges presented by the study’s requirements and the constraints of the Android programming environment, but also for the subject matter and impact that the research may have on people’s health,” said Brian Ploeckelman, the TRAD developer for the app.

TRAD has partnered with UW-CTRI in the past on a study called “Dual Use of E-Cigarettes and Traditional Cigarettes in Primary Care and Community Settings” where our developers worked with Dr. Doug Jorenby on a different smartphone app for collecting real-time data on usage. In addition, TRAD helped with transmitting and storing data so that it could be more easily analyzed.

A video of the broadcast is included in the article.