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Jonathan Bricker is the principal investigator of the Smart Quit study. Photo by Bo Jungmayer.
Jonathan Bricker is the principal investigator of the Smart Quit study. Photo by Bo Jungmayer.

The National Cancer Institute has awarded a $3.1 million, five-year grant to Dr. Jonathan Bricker, a behavioral scientist at Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington, to conduct a large-scale clinical trial for the SmartQuit smoking-cessation app.

It’s a significant milestone for the app, which has already been proven in smaller studies to help people stop smoking.

“The funding gives us an amazing opportunity to update our SmartQuit app with state-of-the-art computer science and psychology technologies closely informed by several years of research we have done on prior versions of the app,” said Bricker in a news release announcing the funding.

After that update, Bricker plans to launch a national, randomized and controlled study of SmartQuit next year, involving more than 1,600 adult smokers.

SmartQuit uses “acceptance and commitment therapy,” or ACT, in which people are coached to accept their urges and let them pass.

The app, based on Bricker’s research, was developed by Seattle startup 2Morrow Inc. The program is currently offered for free by the Washington state Department of Health for smokers in the state who want to quit. Others can get a light version of the app for free, and the full version for $50.

Bricker was a finalist for GeekWire’s Geek of the Year Award this year. For more about his work, listen to his past appearance on the GeekWire radio show, and check out his TEDx talk, The Willingness to Crave.

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