San Francisco, Feb 14 (IANS): Researchers have developed a smart neck-worn device resembling a lapis blue pendant called "SmokeMon" that detects a user's smoking by capturing the heat signature from a lit cigarette in real-time, a new study has shown.
According to the US-based Northwestern Medicine researchers, the necklace completely maintains a smoker's privacy, only tracking heat, not visuals -- which is a critical factor for people to feel comfortable wearing it.
The necklace can also track how much a smoker inhales, and the time between puffs.
"We can detect when the cigarette is being lit, when the person holds it to their mouth and takes a puff, how much they inhale, how much time between puffs and how long they have the cigarette in their mouth, said senior investigator Nabil Alshurafa, associate professor at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
All these details are called smoking topography, which is important for two reasons, said the study.
First, scientists can use it to measure and assess the amount of toxic carbon monoxide smokers are exposed to and gain a better understanding of the relationship between tobacco-related diseases such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung disease, diabetes, COPD, emphysema and chronic bronchitis by assessing chemical exposure.
Second, people who are trying to quit smoking can be helped by understanding how smoking topography relates to relapse (returning to smoking regularly), which occurs frequently in them.
"For many people who attempt to quit smoking, a slip is one or two cigarettes or even a single puff. But a slip is not the same as a relapse (going back to smoking regularly). A person can learn from slips, by gaining awareness that they did not fail, they just had a temporary setback," Alshurafa mentioned.