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PHOENIX -- The University of Arizona is attempting to develop an app designed to both help women quit smoking and prevent weight gain when they do.

On average, women gain between five and 10 pounds when they quit smoking.

"We want to normalize the fact that they might gain a little weight, but overall its much more important to quit smoking, eat well and get more physical exercise than gaining a few extra pounds," said Dr. Judith Gordon.

The National Cancer Society is funding the two-year study to test and develop the mobile phone application for Android using the assistance of volunteers -- initially from the Tucson area -- followed by female volunteers from across the United States.

The app uses guided-imagery messages designed to boost positive body image, and persuade a woman that she "can and will be stronger, healthier and happier by eating well, being physically active and not smoking." The volunteers will listen to these pre-recorded "scripts" every day and track their moods and cravings. They will be able to track their progress on the app as well.

The results of the study will be used to "apply for funding for a larger National Cancer Institute study, in which women will be assigned randomly to either the UA-designed guided-imagery app or another app, made to help with smoking-cessation only."

Sandra Haros , Reporter

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