Maritimers have created a new app - born out of personal loss - and they’re hoping to help smokers quit their cravings as the New Year approaches.
The app is called ‘Qwidder’ and it was released a few weeks before Christmas 2017. Co-founder and president of Qwidder, Bob O’Reilly lost his identical twin brother Bill on July 1, 2014. O'Reilly says he promised his brother on his deathbed that he would quit smoking.
“I was the smoker of the pair,” says O’Reilly. “Bill's cancer was not related to smoking or second hand smoke in any way, but I always felt he had my cancer."
O’Reilly says it’s a vow he has kept since, but with the help of his friend and eventual ‘Quidder’ co-founder, Kevin Cooper.
"When I wanted to reach for that cigarette first thing in the morning, it was reach out to Coop instead and get some very positive reinforcement as to why I needed to do this and why I wanted to do this."
Cooper became O’Reilly’s ‘accountability partner,’ a concept they incorporated into the app. Two versions of the app are available: one for the smoker, the other for the supporter.
There’s a panic button at the center of the app and it sends out a message to the handpicked accountability partner. O’Reilly says the feature is meant to distract the smoker from cravings and give them support at the time.
The app also includes other distractions like a word search and ‘qwidder points’ to keep users invested.
Smokers log their cigarettes and cravings by inputting information about where, when and why they choose to smoke into the app to help better understand their habits in order to break their patterns.
O’Reilly says one of the first steps after downloading is to identifying the internal motivation for quitting.
"We've all seen the warning labels on cigarettes for years and that's a great extrinsic motivator, but we really want to look deep down into each smoker's personal reason, something that's going to be very motivational for them,” he says.
For O'Reilly -his brother was his internal motivation for kicking the habit and helping others do the same.
"If I was left here instead of him in the grand scheme of things, I need to do something very special with that and i want to help people quit smoking in his honour."
‘Qwidder’ is available for purchase through the Apple app store and the Android version will be released early in the New Year.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Jayson Baxter.