On the first anniversary of its launch, Action on Smoking and Health Wales' Youth Project The Filter has launched its first mobile application, Distractor. The app can be downloaded for free, and provides a creative distraction to help young people manage their tobacco cravings, alongside in-app access to The Filter's information website and support service.
Young people are invited to beat their cravings with the app's primary function - the distractor. Users are given a 'theme' or prompt to create an image and a three-minute countdown timer. The aim is to provide young people with a distraction long enough for their tobacco craving to pass.
The app will be launched on Friday 10th January, the anniversary of the launch of Filter project itself, which aims to reduce the number of children who start smoking each year in Wales. The Filter is funded by the Big Lottery Fund to provide support and quit smoking advice to young people aged 11-25, and is the only service of its kind in Wales.
In its first year, the project team has worked with youth groups, pupil referral units, schools, colleges and universities across Wales to raise awareness about the dangers of smoking. The Filter has also brought the Cut Films Awards to Wales and hosted Filter the Future, Wales' first ever youth summit on tobacco and smoking health.
"We're really excited about sharing The Distractor app with young people across the country. It takes about 3 minutes for a tobacco craving to pass, and the best way to manage these cravings is with distraction. The app will provide a fun and engaging distraction, alongside high-quality information and advice about the dangers of smoking."
"Around 14,500 11-15 year olds try smoking every year in Wales. Research has also shown that around 15% of 15 year old girls and 9% of 15 year old boys regularly smoke (HBSC 2010) and we are working hard to get these figures down. The app marks the beginning of the next phase for The Filter, and we are looking forward to working with even more young people in 2014 and giving them the confidence to say 'no' to tobacco.
With its creative side, and the ability to share images and pictures with friends, the app will appeal to both smokers and non-smokers. To create images, there is a full colour palette, paintbrush tools, stickers and the option to add a photograph using the phone's camera. When the three minutes is up, the image can be saved or shared across a range of social networks, and uploaded to the app's gallery for all users to view. A fact about smoking is also displayed after each three-minute cycle.
Alongside the distractor, The Filter's information website can be accessed directly from the application. The website offers help and advice, including how to quit smoking, and the facts about smoking and tobacco.
Access to The Filter's instant message advice service is also built in to the app and is available for young people to ask a question or chat with an expert about the best way to stop smoking. The advice service is available on weekdays from 3pm - 8pm.