Can Gaming Help Smokers Quit?

Gaming has seen a massive boom in recent years, expanding from a niche community to a major cultural phenomenon in which everyone can participate. The World Economic Forum highlights that the gaming industry could be worth $321 billion by 2026 with its current growth trajectory, especially with the rise of social and casual gaming. Many have also seen the benefits of video games, from improved problem-solving skills and concentration to providing stress relief and social opportunities. However, there’s another area where gaming is emerging as a valuable tool: smoking cessation. Video games and gaming technology may benefit smokers looking to quit or reduce cigarette consumption. While there’s still room to evaluate the impact of gaming on smoking, it has some promising perks. 

How gaming can impact smoking cessation

Cigarette cravings can be challenging to manage and can make it hard to resist smoking. However, video games can provide a great distraction from these urges. When a keyboard or controller occupies your hands, and you’re focused on the game on your monitor or screen, it can help you forget about smoking by keeping you engaged. Instead of pausing to go for a smoke, it can feel more rewarding to concentrate on beating that tough boss battle, completing your quests, or getting enough kills. In our “Why PC Gaming Reigns Supreme” post, we emphasize that you have the advantage of exploring an extensive gaming catalog so you can easily find a fun game that keeps you locked in and distracted from smoking. 

Games designed to help with smoking cessation can also provide a more engaging and motivating way to encourage quitting. Gamified smoking cessation apps can help teach coping strategies for urges, provide fun gameplay, or educate gamers on the health impacts of smoking. These games can also incorporate elements like points and badges to increase motivation to stay smoke-free. A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that users who participated in brief abstinence games saw significant smoking cessation rates. The games provided motivational texts, challenge quizzes, goal-setting, and more, which aided smokers who were not ready to quit. Games like BreathIn, Cigbreak, and Super Smokey are a few examples of smoking cessation gaming apps being explored, each providing different features and gameplay mechanics that can guide smokers to manage cravings, reduce cigarette consumption, and quit smoking.

Other tips for gamers

There’s still more progress to be made to improve the effectiveness of gaming on smoking cessation. However, other methods—alongside video games—can help gamers reduce their cigarette intake or quit altogether. 

If you’re looking to cut down on cigarettes or curb cravings, smokeless alternatives can help provide a kick of nicotine without smoke or tobacco. They’re discreet, less risky than cigarettes and tobacco products, and hands-free, so you can use them while gaming. Nicotine pouches are an emerging alternative product thanks to their wide range of brands, flavors, and strengths. The nicotine pouches featured on Prilla showcase this diversity, from classic, milder tastes like VELO Wintergreen in 4mg to more intense and exotic ones like the Juice Head Raspberry Lemon Mint in 12mg. You can put your pouch of choice under your lip for an hour and keep cravings at bay while enjoying pleasant flavors during gaming sessions. 

You can also opt for a nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) product, which is approved for smoking cessation. Gum, patches, lozenges, inhalers, and sprays are just a few examples you can explore. Patches may be a good option for gamers since they can be worn for up to 24 hours—useful for uninterrupted gaming. Nicotine patches from NicoDerm CQ and Habitrol offer patches ranging from 7mg, 14mg, and 21mg. You can start with 21mg and lower the dose gradually over a few months. 

Chewing on sugarless gum or candy can also help occupy your mouth and replace the habit of putting a cigarette between your lips. Pop on into your mouth when you feel a craving kick in or during times when you often smoke, like after a tough game or a loss. Breaking the routine and the hand and mouth gestures you create around smoking can help you get used to life without cigarettes. 

Like gaming, smoking can come with tough challenges and obstacles, but persevering through them can get you that rewarding win when you finally reach the end of your journey. Can gaming help with smoking cessation? The answer is still being evaluated, but games could be a complementary tool to help gamers quit. However, combining them with established methods and alternatives can boost success rates. 

Back to top button