Smoking Cessation App

Dr. Judith Gordon’s current interests focus on the use of mobile technology for promoting tobacco cessation both in healthcare settings and direct-to-consumer applications. The See Me Smoke Free app uses guided imagery to help women quit smoking, eat well and get moving.



No Ifs, Ands, or ‘Butts:’ UA’s Dr. Judith Gordon Developing New Program to Boost Smokers’ Efforts to Quit Tobacco

Dr. Gordon has received a $700,000 NIH grant to create and evaluate a guided imagery program delivered over a telephone quitline and designed to appeal to men and racial and ethnic minorities, who are less likely to use a quitline for help in quitting smoking.

Jane Erikson | December 5, 2016 | See original story

A new program designed to appeal to men and racial and ethnic minorities who want to quit smoking is being developed by Judith S. Gordon, PhD, professor and interim vice chair for research in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson. Widely known for her innovative approaches to smoking cessation, Dr. Gordon will develop and evaluate the use of guided imagery as a tobacco-cessation intervention, delivered over a telephone “quitline” and companion website.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, a program of the National Institutes of Health, has awarded $702,606 for the three-year study (NIH grant R34AT008947).

The study is a collaboration with the UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, which operates the Arizona Smokers Helpline, a quitline known as ASHLine (1-800-55-66-222). Co-investigators on the study are Julie Armin, PhD, research assistant professor, UA Department of Family and Community Medicine; Melanie Bell, PhD, professor, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and Uma Nair, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Health Promotion Sciences, with the UA Zuckerman College of Public Health; and Peter Giacobbi, PhD, associate professor, College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences at West Virginia University.

Men and under-represented minorities are less likely to turn to a quitline when they want to stop smoking, Dr. Gordon says. But adding guided imagery—an intervention in which people immerse themselves in a multi-sensory, imaginative rehearsal of being a non-smoker, with all the health and economic benefits that provides—may encourage more people to use the quitline. The reasons: guided imagery commonly is used to train athletes, which may make the intervention more appealing to men, and an alternative approach to smoking cessation may attract smokers who have tried more mainstream approaches without success.

Smoking is at an all-time low in the United States, Dr. Gordon notes, with just one in 17 adults smoking cigarettes in 2014, according to a recent report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Arizona, 15.9 percent of the adult population smokes, compared to 18.4 percent nationally. Yet smoking still is the leading preventable cause of disease and death in the United States, killing 480,000 Americans each year.

Drs. Gordon, Giacobbi and Armin collaborated on a pilot study last year of a guided imagery mHealth app—called See Me Smoke-Free—for women smokers. Preliminary data suggest guided imagery can be helpful to women who want to quit smoking, Dr. Gordon says.

The researchers want to see if guided imagery is effective when provided via a tobacco quitline. Guided imagery interventions usually are delivered in person, making this approach unique and potentially more cost-effective.

No matter how long a person has smoked, he or she will experience immediate benefits to their health, especially their heart, lungs and skin, and well-being, Dr. Gordon says. “When you quit smoking, you take back control of your life.”

UA App Designed to Help Women Quit Smoking

Guided imagery is used to help women resist the urge to light up while encouraging them to make healthful food choices and increase physical activity.

Jane Erikson, UA College of Medicine – Tucson | April 7, 2015 | See original story

See Me Smoke-Free, the first multibehavioral mobile health (mHealth) app designed to help women quit smoking, eat well and get moving, is now available for free at the Google Play Store.

The Android phone app, officially released March 30, uses guided imagery to help women resist the urge to smoke, while encouraging them to make healthful food choices and increase their physical activity. The app can be downloaded at

See Me Smoke-Free was developed by a multidisciplinary research team headed by Judith S. Gordon, associate professor and associate head for research with the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson.

The goal of See Me Smoke-Free is to provide an overall sense of well-being and self-efficacy, Gordon said.

"We want women to recognize that they are strong, they are beautiful, they are powerful and they’re in control of their lives," she said. "And that they can use the app to engage in a healthier lifestyle. That includes being smoke-free."

The app is designed specifically for women, with input from women smokers, because studies have shown that women experience challenges such as weight gain when they quit smoking. That may make quitting more difficult for women than it is for men, Gordon said.

The main component of the app is a guided imagery program, which consists of several audio files. Guided imagery is an enhanced visualization technique that encourages users to imagine themselves smoke-free and capable of dealing with cravings.

In addition to sight imagery, the app prompts women to use all of their senses for a fully immersive experience. For example, users are guided through a farmers’ market, where they imagine seeing, smelling and tasting their favorite fruit or vegetable.

Users are prompted to use the guided imagery files daily. The app also allows users to access additional information and resources on quitting, eating well and being physically active; record achievement of their daily goals; and display how many days they have gone without smoking, the intensity of their cravings over time and how much money they have saved. Users receive daily motivational messages and tips for living a healthy lifestyle, and they get virtual awards for meeting their goals and engaging with the app.

"The reason we developed this as an Android app is twofold," Gordon said. "First, Android currently has the largest market share of smartphone operating systems. Second, we know that people with lower incomes are more likely to use Androids, and they are more likely to smoke."

See Me Smoke-Free was developed as part of a two-phase study. Participants are needed for the second phase of the study, which will evaluate the app. Additional information about the app and the research study is available at the website,

"A multi-behavioral intervention such as ours requires experts from a variety of fields," Gordon noted.

The study team includes Melanie Hingle, assistant professor with the Department of Nutritional Sciences, UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and the Canyon Ranch Center for Prevention and Health Promotion at the UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health; Thienne Johnson, research associate with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, UA College of Engineering, and the Department of Computer Science, UA College of Science; and Peter Giacobbi, associate professor with the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences and the School of Public Health at West Virginia University. Jim Cunningham, an epidemiologist with the UA Department of Family and Community Medicine, is the study’s methodologist and statistician.

See Me Smoke-Free is funded by a two-year, $366,400 National Cancer Institute grant.