London, May 24 (Reuters): If you’ve tried to give up smoking but don’t have the willpower or are too embarrassed to seek help, Dutch researchers may have the answer.
They are developing a virtual coach to provide smokers with round-the-clock reinforcement to help them kick the habit. “Shrouded in the anonymity provided by the Internet, smokers can log on to a website and type questions and confessions into a chat box,” New Scientist magazine said today.
The virtual coach, being designed by Betsy van Dijk and researchers at the University of Twente in Enschede and the Dutch anti-smoking group Stivoro, will give advice and encouragement at all hours.
The concept has already been used successfully in the US to encourage elderly people to exercise more, according to the magazine.