Helping teens curb the desire to smoke with virtual reality

On July 31, 2017 The Open Family Studies Journal published “Virtual Reality Smoking Cessation—Designed for Teens, by Teens. This report, conducted by the Virtual Reality Medical Center (VRMC) and Interactive Media Institute (IMI), sought to teach high school students how to recognize and resist triggers or “cues” that make them want to smoke. With input from the students themselves, VRMC created a virtual home and virtual school containing scenes that typically evoke an urge to smoke. The students were then prompted with games like stomp the cigarette butt to help extinguish the urge. They could also choose to play the virtual drums as a form of distraction. Overall, the report explains the Cue Exposure Therapy (CET) used to treat smoking addictions, how the virtual environments were created, and the program functionalities.

For more information on the publication, you can download it for free here: or contact Dr. Brenda K. Wiederhold at the Virtual Reality Medical Center.

Wiederhold BK, Miller I, Wiederhold MD. Virtual Reality Smoking Cessation–Designed for Teens, by Teens. The Open Family Studies Journal. 2017 Jul 31;9(1).