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How the cofounder of the Quit Genius app is helping thousands of smokers kick the habit

For helping thousands of people kick their smoking habit, Quit Genius cofounder and CEO Yusuf Sherwani is one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People of 2019.

How the cofounder of the Quit Genius app is helping thousands of smokers kick the habit
[Illustration: The Project Twins]


The Problem

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. and U.K. Though many smokers want to quit, DigiThera CEO Yusuf Sherwani says doctors are “terrible” at addressing the root causes of addiction.

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The Epiphany

After a family member died from smoking-related issues at a young age, Sherwani, a med school grad, realized that by helping smokers understand the circumstances that trigger their impulse to light up, they could be encouraged to make healthier decisions.

The Execution

Sherwani teamed up with two fellow London doctors to build a mobile app, called Quit Genius, that replicates in digital form the kind of in-person cognitive behavioral therapy that’s been proven to help patients change habits. The app, which launched in December 2017, combines educational content with text message-based coaching from therapists. Smokers can engage with Quit Genius every day and check in after relapses.

The Result

More than 800,000 people are using Quit Genius, and 60,000 say they’ve stopped smoking. Sherwani is now partnering with the U.K.’s National Health Service and private employers to expand the app’s reach.

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About the author

Senior Writer Ainsley Harris joined Fast Company in 2014. Follow her on Twitter at @ainsleyoc.

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