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Characterizing and Modeling Smoking Behavior Using Automatic Smoking Event Detection and Mobile Surveys in Naturalistic Environments: Observational Study

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

BACKGROUND: There are 1.1 billion smokers worldwide, and each year, more than 8 million die prematurely because of cigarette smoking. More than half of current smokers make a serious quit every year. Nonetheless, 90% of unaided quitters relapse within the first 4 weeks of quitting due to the lack of limited access to cost-effective and efficient smoking cessation tools in their daily lives. OBJECTIVE: This study aims to enable quantified monitoring of ambulatory smoking behavior 24/7 in real life by using continuous and automatic measurement techniques and identifying and characterizing smoking patterns using longitudinal contextual signals. This work also intends to provide guidance and insights into the design and deployment of technology-enabled smoking cessation applications in naturalistic environments. METHODS: A 4-week observational study consisting of 46 smokers was conducted in both working and personal life environments. An electric lighter and a smartphone with an experimental app were used to track smoking events and acquire concurrent contextual signals. In addition, the app was used to prompt smoking-contingent ecological momentary assessment (EMA) surveys. The smoking rate was assessed based on the timestamps of smoking and linked statistically to demographics, time, and EMA surveys. A Poisson mixed-effects model to predict smoking rate in 1-hour windows was developed to assess the contribution of each predictor. RESULTS: In total, 8639 cigarettes and 1839 EMA surveys were tracked over 902 participant days. Most smokers were found to have an inaccurate and often biased estimate of their daily smoking rate compared with the measured smoking rate. Specifically, 74% (34/46) of the smokers made more than one (mean 4.7, SD 4.2 cigarettes per day) wrong estimate, and 70% (32/46) of the smokers overestimated it. On the basis of the timestamp of the tracked smoking events, smoking rates were visualized at different hours and were found to gradually increase and peak at 6 PM in the day. In addition, a 1- to 2-hour shift in smoking patterns was observed between weekdays and weekends. When moderate and heavy smokers were compared with light smokers, their ages (P<.05), Fagerström Test of Nicotine Dependence (P=.01), craving level (P<.001), enjoyment of cigarettes (P<.001), difficulty resisting smoking (P<.001), emotional valence (P<.001), and arousal (P<.001) were all found to be significantly different. In the Poisson mixed-effects model, the number of cigarettes smoked in a 1-hour time window was highly dependent on the smoking status of an individual (P<.001) and was explained by hour (P=.02) and age (P=.005). CONCLUSIONS: This study reported the high potential and challenges of using an electronic lighter for smoking annotation and smoking-triggered EMAs in an ambulant environment. These results also validate the techniques for smoking behavior monitoring and pave the way for the design and deployment of technology-enabled smoking cessation applications. INTERNATIONAL REGISTERED REPORT IDENTIFIER (IRRID): RR2-10.1136/bmjopen-2018-028284.
Journal: Journal of Medical Internet Research
ISSN: 2291-5222
Issue: 2
Volume: 10
Number of pages: 13
Publication year:2022