The Smoking Cessation Implant will help smokers quit by detecting when the user begins to smoke and generating an unpleasant stimulus. The user then gains no satisfaction from smoking and associates it with the unpleasant stimulus. Essentially it allows the smoker to make a one time decision to stop smoking instead of having to battle the urge daily or hourly.
This device does not yet exist and must be designed.
How will the implant quickly determine that the user is smoking. Some possibilities include detection of certain agents in the blood and analysis of breathing patterns.
Detecting when the user is smoking using the blood requires knowledge of how blood chemistry changes when the user smokes. The ideal detection target will signal with minimal delay when the user begins to smoke. If the target is always present, care will have to be taken to determine a concentration threshold. The detection system must also be reusable.
It may be possible to determine when a user is smoking based on analyzing the breathing pattern of the user. This could be done by analyzing breathing sounds or the motion of the body that occurs during a breath.
Durability and Repeatability of the stimulus require care. Some possible stimulus modalities include use of chemical agents, electrical energy, and mechanical energy.
If the stimulus is a chemical agent, that agent must be able to withstand body temperatures for the duration of the implant's life unless it is created, in situ when needed, from more stable agents. If the agent is not created and only stored, consideration will have to be given to manage the risks of accidental release through malfunction or during trauma to the patient (e.g. a car accident).
It may be possible to create an unpleasant sensation with small electrical current applied to certain nerves or tissues. The electrical energy available for each stimulus application would be constrained by the energy available through a battery, capacitor or some other source.
The patient may choose to render the device ineffective if it requires recharging. Since the whole purpose of the device is to help the patient escape his or her own unhelpful motivations, the device should remain functional independent of anything the patient chooses to do.
A sufficiently unpleasant stimulus might be created by applying mechanical force to certain tissues or nerves.