The guys at Quitbit used to be smokers. Used to.
Back in grad school, company co-founder and CEO Ata Ghofrani and his partners were trying to track their cigarette consumption, but there was just no easy way. There were apps, but to Ghofrani, that wasn’t realistic.
“No one’s going to pull out an app every time they have a smoke,” he said.
Instead, they decided to put a cigarette tracker inside something every smoker would always have on their person—something that wouldn't be fooled they forgot to check an app. There was only one thing that fit the bill: a lighter.
Thus the Quitbit was born. Billed as the world’s first smart lighter, this clever device takes note every time you use it and tracks how long it's been since you last smoked. It passes that info to an app that can be accessed from a smartphone, helping smokers keep track of how much they smoke and when they're most likely to light up.
The all-electric Quitbit (charged through a microUSB port) syncs with your phone or tablet via Bluetooth. Aside from tracking your smoking frequency, it can also use GPS to map your smoking history. Armed with that info, you can identify potential trigger sites—places that encourage you to smoke.
According to Ghofrani, the lighter can work to help smokers quit wholesale, reduce their dependence, or simply keep track of their habit. App users can set goals and track their progress, but Ghofrani insists that's entirely up to the individual. “We don’t want to set plans for people,” he added.
The Quitbit uses a special algorithm to tell when you're lighting a cigarette, as opposed to a candle or grill. It also knows when you're giving fire to a friend, so you won't get docked for someone else's habit.
The lighter itself features a digital display counting up the minutes since your last smoke break. You can use it without the app if you prefer, but Ghofrani told us the real power is in the platform—particularly since it offers access to a community of other smokers trying to quit. In a way, it's a kind of digital support group.
And as if you needed more incentive to quit, the app also keeps track of how much money you save by not smoking.
The Quitbit is set to launch in March, at an asking price of $99. If you're interested, now's the time to place a pre-order.