International Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 24, Issue 5, pp 683–693 | Cite as

Smiling Instead of Smoking: Development of a Positive Psychology Smoking Cessation Smartphone App for Non-daily Smokers

  • Bettina B. HoeppnerEmail author
  • Susanne S. Hoeppner
  • Lourah Kelly
  • Melissa Schick
  • John F. Kelly



The usefulness of mobile technology in supporting smoking cessation has been demonstrated, but little is known about how smartphone apps could best be leveraged. The purpose of this paper is to describe the program of research that led to the creation of a smoking cessation app for non-daily smokers, so as to stimulate further ideas to create “smart” smartphone apps to support health behavior change.


Literature reviews to evaluate the appropriateness of the proposed app, content analyses of existing apps, and smoking cessation sessions with non-daily smokers (n = 38) to inform the design of the app.


The literature reviews showed that (1) smoking cessation apps are sought after by smokers, (2) positive affect plays an important role in smoking cessation, (3) short, self-administered exercises consistently bring about enduring positive affect enhancements, and (4) low treatment-seeking rates of non-daily smokers despite high motivation to quit indicate a need for novel smoking cessation support. Directed content analyses of existing apps indicated that tailoring, two-way interactions, and proactive features are under-utilized in existing apps, despite the popularity of such features. Conventional content analyses of audio-recorded session tapes suggested that difficulty in quitting was generally linked to specific, readily identifiable occasions, and that social support was considered important but not consistently sought out.


The “Smiling Instead of Smoking” (SIS) app is an Android app that is designed to act as a behavioral, in-the-pocket coach to enhance quitting success in non-daily smokers. It provides proactive, tailored behavioral coaching, interactive tools (e.g., enlisting social support), daily positive psychology exercises, and smoking self-monitoring.


Smoking cessation Smartphone app Non-daily smoking mHealth Ecological momentary assessment Positive psychology 



This research was supported by grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (K01 DA027097) and the Massachusetts General Hospital Executive Committee on Research (ECOR # 2014A051686).

Compliance with Ethical Standards


This research was supported by grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (K01 DA027097) and the Massachusetts General Hospital Executive Committee on Research (ECOR # 2014A051686).

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© International Society of Behavioral Medicine 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bettina B. Hoeppner
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Susanne S. Hoeppner
    • 1
  • Lourah Kelly
    • 1
  • Melissa Schick
    • 1
  • John F. Kelly
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General HospitalHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.Center for Addiction Medicine, Massachusetts General HospitalHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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