Smoking cessation app-maker partners with GSK to offer nicotine patches

By Aditi Pai
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Digital smoking cessation company 2Morrow has partnered with GlaxoSmithKline, makers of Nicoderm patches, to offer the company’s Nicoderm CQ Patch to smokers who complete 2morrow’s cessation program.

2Morrow’s smoking cessation app, called SmartQuit, is based on acceptance and commitment therapy, or an ACT-based program, that "focuses on increasing one’s willingness to accept the physical, mental and emotional challenges of quitting while also encouraging commitment to engage in values-based behavior change”. Using this method, the quitter is, among other things, tracking their urges rather than tracking their smokes.

A lite version of the app, which helps people create a quit plan, is free and available to everyone in the iOS, Android, and Windows app store. But there is also a version sponsored by employers and health plans as well as one state (Washington) that includes other features like daily exercises and coaching. Once users finish the program and earn their certificate of completion, certain health plans and employers that include the nicotine replacement therapy feature will allow users to then order the patches for free from the app.

2Morrow COO and Cofounder Jo Masterson told MobiHealthNews most health plans do cover the cost of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), but to get it users have to make an appointment, go to the doctor, and get a prescription from them, so a lot of people won’t bother.

“For the employer, especially self insured employers, what happens is the other way they pay for doctor visit and the medication,” she continued. “This way they are paying directly for the medication. If the smokers use the NRT, they have a better chance of success. But there is an extra hassle factor — most smokers don’t make it happen.”

Employers will likely offer a starter pack of nicotine patches, either a two-week or month-long supply and at that point, if the treatment is working, they would go to the doctor to get more. So far, two smaller northwest employers have launched the program for employees, but Masterson said there are a few bigger employers that plan to launch the program too.

Last year, The National Cancer Institute awarded Jonathan Bricker, a behavioral scientist and faculty member at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, with a five-year, $3.1 million grant to conduct a randomized controlled trial of SmartQuit, a smoking-cessation app. This trial will build on a study that Bricker conducted at the end of 2014 with 2Morrow, which was funded by the Hartwell Innovation Fund. 2Morrow partnered with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to create the app.

Earlier this month, another digital smoking company, Chrono Therapeutics, which offers a wearable, smartphone-connected drug delivery device, completed a small randomized trial that showed that nicotine replacement therapy delivered with its device can reduce cravings to a statistically significant degree compared to a placebo delivered the same way. Last year, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) awarded Chrono Therapeutics a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant of up to $2.3 million for product development of the digital portion of the company's smoking cessation therapy offering.