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After the colonization and pillaging of the Native Americans in North America by white European settlers, it has been said that indigenous people gained revenge through introducing tobacco to the Western world.
Despite its association with poor health, nicotine, originating from the Americas, was not evolved for such an intentionally malicious purpose. The chemical is a potent pesticide, and is also found in small amounts in tomatoes and peppers.
Nicotine in tobacco form has caused a health crisis in most nations across the world, but especially in China.
China"s vast population of tobacco smokers adds up to more people than live in the entire United States.
The nation has a smoking problem. More than 60 percent of Chinese doctors smoke, a figure higher than anywhere else in the world for that profession. Smoking as a deeply ingrained social custom in the country further exacerbates the issue, with little consideration given to options for alternatives such as nicotine gum and vaporizers.
It is commonplace in the bustling business centers of Shanghai and Beijing for cigarettes to be shared as a sign of generosity, and it can be an important gesture in networking. It seems that China"s obsession with smoking is in contrast with its obsession with longevity and progress. The thirst for progress may mean Chinese smokers will be more open to technological interventions for the prevention of smoking.
This sort of technology is still in its infancy, and relies on smartphones to notice when a person is smoking. The program detects signature body movements which indicate when someone is lighting one up. Researchers at Case Western Reserve University have released such an app, initially for Android, which automatically sends texts and video reminder messages to smokers when the specific arm and body motions associated with smoking are detected. There are many apps which can help with quitting smoking, but technology now means that apps such as these will be able to combine reminder messages with wearable technology and body motion detection concepts.
Wearable technology is a recent advancement, popularized by the likes of the Apple watch and Fitbits. The technology has a wide range of uses but this is the first time it is being used in the fight against nicotine addiction. Two armbands can detect smoking related motions of the body in tests, accurate up to 98 percent of the time. Personalized text message services and videos will then be sent to the smoker to remind them of the health and financial benefits of quitting.
There are no easy solutions for this global epidemic of nicotine addiction. Ultimately, the free will of the individual must prevail. It is up to the smoker to personally decide whether they have the willpower to quit. Technology however, is capable of lending a helping hand. Collaboration between authorities around the world can nurture a community for enterprises to flourish. In 2012, Chinese and US health authorities launched a joint initiative to promote smoke-free workplaces in China. Education about the risks of smoking comes first and foremost, but regulatory bodies and thinktanks can pay more attention to new advances in technology.
Barry He, London-based columnist for China Dailysilicone braceletshow to emboss silicone wristbandscancer wristbands sayingspersonalized bracelets for boyfriendred rubber bracelet