When I met Marcel Zwyssig back in 2010 in some Neuroscience seminars at the University, I could not have imagined that one day I will be working with him on a smoking cessation project. I took a path in Cognitive Neuroscience, UX Design and Behaviour Change (Prevention) while Marcel focused on Health & Clinical Psychology. Substance dependence however is a frequent topic to touch when studying and working in mental health, Psychology or brain science. Medical doctors and health practitioners all agree that smoking is one of the greatest health burdens of today’s society (see report of WHO). It is ranked in the top three of preventable diseases, followed by mal nutrition and physical inactivity in the US for example. In Switzerland each year smoking kills about 9’500 people – 25 deaths per day! Naturally, something should be done about lowering these numbers!
Three years ago, Marcel wrote his master thesis about developing a new intervention for young adults to prevent them from tobacco addiction. This program was tested on over 450 participants and he learned a lot along the way. Packed with experience he soon after joined Krebsliga Schweiz to become an expert counselling psychologist on smoking cessation. Nowadays, he is coaching and helping individuals to quit cigarettes on a daily basis. Meanwhile, I visited UCL London to stay with the research group of Prof. West, a world leader in public health and behaviour change in topics like tobacco and alcohol use. Another piece of the puzzle, I suppose.
We discussed a lot around the idea of launching a business and work in the health promotion sector and figured that smoking cessation should be the first topic to tackle. It not only touches many individuals, but the ones willing to stop the unhealthy habit are rarely given the appropriate techniques, knowledge and guidance to successfully quit. There are a lot of myths around the topic of smoking cessation and innovative digital tools are rarely evidence-based nor used correctly. We want to change that and give people fresh air again! Therefore, we designed a 5-stage intervention training called “Luftzug”. We assembled best scientific practises and try to personalise the coaching process as much as possible, also in deploying digital tools to improve the journey of becoming a non-smoker.
As I am a longtime Impact Hub member and very much appreciate the feedback and open-minded mentality of the community, we will launch “Luftzug” on July 7 – the day of the summer celebration. Join the Kick-Off workshop in german (two time slots possible: 10-12h, 14-16h). Note that Impact Hub members will get a discount. Find more information here or feel free to send us a message firstname.lastname@example.org.