Stimulus Program Provides Free BlackBerry Smartphones to Help Quit Smoking

By Adam Zeis on 12 Feb 2010 11:40 am EST

It appears that Washington DC has started up a recent program set to cost $977,346 that will provide smokers with BlackBerry Smartphones (CNN - I forgive you for writing "BlackBerries" and not "BlackBerry Smartphones") in hopes of helping them quit. The plan is run by the American Legacy foundation, and the idea behind it is that smokers will have a 24/7 line to get support while trying to quit. Their BlackBerry will give them 24/7 text support, help connect with others who are trying to quit and options to help prevent relapse. We're not 100% sure if the devices will carry any special applications to aid in this process, or if they are just bare-bones devices. Check out the video above for the full details (shoutout to the hardcore guy still rocking the 7130e in the video) . What are your thoughts on this? Will having a BlackBerry help you quit smoking? Leave a comment and let us know! Thanks to Brian for sending this in!

Topics: News & Rumors

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

Reader comments

Stimulus Program Provides Free BlackBerry Smartphones to Help Quit Smoking


Hey, what do ya know a government in debt with no way out finds a way to give away more free stuff. Who thinks of these crap programs anyway?

I don't smoke, but I am addicted to caffeine - can I get a car?

Owning my BlackBerry Storm 2 has cut me down to just 2 packs a day!

Are you sh**in' me?!!

I was sittin' here just last night thinking, what other useless program could our government possibly throw China's money at?

I never thought of this! WOW! They're smart!

I want my tax money back! i want a responsible government instead of thie handout-in-chief and his band of frigging idiots that we have now. what a joke.

Aren't they concerned about replacing one addiction with another? And what if it doesn't work and they are addicted to both smoking and CrackBerry?

If you watch the video, they state that they are using the money that was won against a Tobacco lawsuit. At least they put it back into helping smokers.

Like, for example, the new Rest Areas in IL a couple years ago. That's where that money came from. That lawsuit was won, and the proceeds divied out and pissed away long ago. They're just using that line as a pacifier, hoping no one looks it up.

Lung cancer is a major killer but all we hear about nowadays are breast & prostate cancer - both of which have much higher remission rates than lung cancer.

I may be a smoker, and a Canadian. But this idea disgusts me. As a smoker I know it is my responsibility to quit. It's NOT my governments responsibility, or my fellow taxpayers. If someone enters into an addictive habit, why is everyone elses duty to help them. We do it to ourselves, and should be able to correct it ourselves as well. Or die trying.

I know you have to be a US born citizen, but I might waive that in exchange for this type of logic on capitol hill.

I'd like to apologize to all other countries for how we must look right now. It's humiliating.

Doesn't seem to have helped the President himself too much, he has/had a Blackberry Smartphone, and still smokes/smoked...

Even more amazing is how the guy at CNN touts the ONE job created for the $1 million as a positive thing. Give me a million and I'd give someone a job...

By the way, it's amazing that we have a program like this while we are cutting Medicare by 21% in March...great choice.

Your government at work. Do they actually pay someone to think about how they can spend every cent this country has/doesn't have?

paying for the data package as well? You know a Crackberry without a data connection can be stressful and we all know what excessive stress can lead to....

Snoball- you have to start back up and then you can get one to quit. I don't think it will be retroactive. Oh -but wait- I am forgetting it's our government........maybe you will qualify. lol

I wonder how many losers, who can't (or don't want to) afford a smartphone will be trying to get one of these free BlackBerrys just to claim they want to quit smoking.

And how many will try by claiming they are smokers who want to quit, when in fact they may not be smokers at all.

More free handouts to losers. More wellfare. More wellfare fraud. Pay higher taxes.

i quit smoking!!! Thats right, im not smoking from one week and dont need any app's or any other help. It was spontanic decision bout 6AM when i woke up and smoke first cigarett early morning. After that i decide, NO MORE SMOKING, NO MORE CIGARETTES! Its costs too much and its bad for health :)

Now i save $6 every day (2 box'es of cigarettes) and ~ $180 per month.

i know what ya mean, i quit the tuesday b4 new years, just decided there and then to quit, no help, no patches or stuff, just pure will power :)

is it ironic people may start smoking to get a blackberry?

I've never smoked and I don't need the government to buy my cell phone! Ah...more of MY money going to "help" others. Give me a break. Kicking smokers in the face with a golf shoe would help them quit sooner (and it's cheaper). Another stupid idea by the man you* voted into office! * you know who you are

New idea...Provide the number and if smokers "need" to quit, they'll use it. If they can afford cigarettes, they can afford to quit smoking (and buy their own cell phone!!) I'm just going to walk away now...We're dumb (at least the ones in charge are)!

Another stupid waste of our tax money. No wonder our country is in such a bad state. Vote these guys out of office.

the government can spy on us during our internet use so if your reading this gov't-stop spending money on stupid junk like this!

One job created? WTF?

And, as much of an addict as I am, how is my BlackBerry going to help me quit smoking...I mean BB addict, what? They're just CHANGING the addiction? Are you kidding me!?

Does the US Government even know that RIM is a Canadian company? Who do they want to stimulate?

I expected something like this to happen . Its the only thing republicans wants to approve instead of rejecting everything.

First off this wasn't a bill passed through the House or the Senate. This is a program started with taxpayer money(stimulus money) by the ultra liberal American Legacy Foundation also known as ALF. Second, you should be happy that your getting a handout, I'm sure your all about that.

I love how everyone has become so anti-smoking! I have been smoking for a while now and I know the risks. I also know the risks of running into a burning building or getting on a motorcycle or jumping out of a plane, guess what I do all that too. I will stop when and if I want to. I worked to get my BB 9700 and I worked to get my house and car and boat, never needed or wanted a stimulus and am extremely sick of giving them! Leave the smokers alone leyt us smoke and stay off our backs about it. It is as simple as that. Offering all this free crap just makes americans as a whole lazier by the day. If u get everything free why get a job?!?

note to people trying to quit: don't use patches/gum etc. you know why? you get hooked on those. do you really think the companies are trying to help you? no, they want your money. and they know you will fail and fail and fail.

i smoked for 4 years, pack a day. sure it's not much but i was able to quit on my own cold turkey. if you can last ~two weeks it gets MUCH easier. time flies and now i have 6 months without a cig. all my friends smoke and i'm totally fine.

i wish you the best of luck, don't give your money to those bastards.

If this is true, it has got to be the dumbest damn thing i have ever heard of!!! I hope people take advantage of it though as much as possible! Take the FREE BLACKBERRY AND SELL THEM TO YOUR FRIENDS!!! LOL!!!!!

What a bunch of pantywaist DUMB A**ES!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Is everyone in this site a right-wing fanatic. You are always complaining about "The Man" in charge, yet NEVER offer a solution. You TeaBaggers out there are fools! Go tea-bag your moms and dads, you Glenn Beck worshipers!

Did you have a comment about the blog post or did you even read it? You dumbacrats get so offended at any oppossing point of view that you resort to childish name calling instead of arguing your own point of view. Is that because you have no argument or point of view or because you haven't logged onto yet to see what your supposed to think today?

Sorry to be the one to shed light on the situation to all the cynics out there but most people have a lot of trouble trying to quit on their own and they need help. Do you want to know why the government has their hand in trying to curb this tobacco addiction? It is because smoking is the leading cause of cancer and it costs billions to research and treat. So if your level of intelligence is so low to understand that a $1M plan attempts to chip away at the cost of billions, then it was no need to explain any of this to you in the first place.

Instead of using the common sense that you should have or doing a bit of research before you speak, you would just rather bash Obama because you don't like him. I don't trust most politicians anyway, but at least do some research because you make yourself look like a fool. The program may or may not work, but at least the government didn't sit on their asses. They are attempting to address a costly problem.

Instead of blindly rushing to defend Obama, maybe you should use some common sense to think: "Sure, it's great to try and prevent cancer..but is spending 1 million dollars giving cell phones to people the way to do it?"

Is there any research to show that this will have ANY impact at all on anything other than our wallets?

"The program may or may not work, but at least the government didn't sit on their asses..."
See, that's the same kind of thinking that has us trillions in debt. The government didn't sit on their asses, they spent our money. And it didn't work. And I expect the majority of Americans feel that way and will show it in the elections this year and in 2012.

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm a BlackBerry owner and former smoker. I quit without the benefit of a government handout.

Not to mention that this particular stimulus program has employed a stunning (drum roll please!) ONE person. A program like this is bound to be full of fraud. Can you imagine the people using this program who have no intention to quit smoking or the ones claiming that they smoke just to get a phone. How about using that million dollars for sales tax vouchers on quit smoking products or maybe not spend it at all. I think what needs to be learned here is that just because there is money that hasn't been spent doesn't mean you have to think up new ways to spend it as fast as you can.

If you had bothered to read what I said, you would have seen that I wasn't blindly defending Obama at all. I even stated that I don't trust most politicians anyway.

Now, as far as you saying, "They spent our money." Guess what? This is why we pay taxes. If you, yourself, knew how to implement a plan best fit for our tax dollars, you should be in office and not on crackberry.

How do you know this will or will not work when it has never been implemented in the past and we won't know until years later if it has? What I am saying is, instead of being cynical and bashing him, they got off their asses and put a plan to use. If they had done nothing, then you would have complained about Obama sitting on his ass and doing nothing about the rising cost of health care. All tax dollars are from the people so no matter what plan is implemented, it is our tax dollars being used whether that plan turns out to be good or bad. What I'm saying is you don't even know if this plan is bad yet and still bashing it. The world is changing and so is technology so he is using that as a means to try and help people and cut health cost. Not for nothing, but when it comes to government spending, $1M is absolutely nothing.

Also, you quit smoking on your own, that's great for you. Now what do you do say to the other millions of people that haven't had that same will-power? I guess they should not be offered an alternative because you were able to quit on your own?

They made the choice to smoke,not me. I shouldn't have to contribute any tax dollars to help them quit. If you want to quit then you need to take personal responsibly and not burden me with the decisions that you have made. I'm pretty sure I'm gonna be called an Obama basher for disagreeing, so ill go ahead and clarify that this isn't an Obama plan. This handout was created by the American Legacy Foundation(ALF) with money that they got from the stimulus.

I already know that it isn't a direct Obama plan. When I saw all of the Obama references by most people above, this whole thing needed to be dumbed down because that's where most placed the blame.

Unfortunately for us, it doesn't matter whether your or my ideals are in tune with what the government does with out tax money, it is there for programs that help the masses. There are times when you won't be included in those masses. However, this time, you are included in this group. Whether you are a smoker or not, you are affected by health care and the very high cost for cancer research and treatment of this disease, i.e., health care costs reduced, government funding reduced for research and treatment, less taxes out of our pockets. No one seems to think far enough ahead that this is what is attempting to be achieved.

The reason I called some here Obama bashers is because he was specifically mentioned in many comments. That's why I said people don't use common sense. Hell, they barely comprehend what they read which is evident by many of the comments here.

Dude, social programs are great, but if you can't afford them, you can't afford them. The idea that spending a million will curb POSSIBLE billions in cancer costs is ridiculously wishful thinking.

If these people can afford 2 packs a day (or even one pack a day), they can afford their own cell phone, right?

I don't think people are so divided among their respective political parties when it comes down to seeing that government spending is unsustainable. To say that this program MAY save us billions in future cancer costs is hopelessly wishful. On the other hand, what I can guarantee you is that this program and other unnecessary programs just like it WILL cost us billions in unpayable interest.

What you don't seem to 'comprehend' is that we've got to stop living on 'hope it works' when it comes to dropping millions and trillions of dollars here and there and start dropping that money on paying off the debt - otherwise there will be a point we can kiss ALL social programs goodbye (for further reference on high spending, high taxation, leftist policies and their results, see California)

ckelly33, DUDE, you are a perfect example of when I said people don't comprehend a thing they read. I said specifically this could help to chip away at the high cost of health care. You actually tried to make the same point twice about me thinking this will save us billions when I never said that at all. You tell me where you read different.

Whether they spent money on packs of cigarettes a day has nothing to do with this. The program is attempting to give them the support they need in order to quit. The money they spend on cigarettes a day just fosters their habit and will continue to do so if they aren't given a means and support to quit. If they continue to do, we are the ones that fund the high cancer related costs.

You give me one shred of proof that the program won't work instead of being a cynic about any and everything, then maybe you will have a point. If this program fails, then someone tries to revive it 5 years from now, be as cynical as you want to be because you have past experience to draw from. Cynics like you, and most people, are why we would never get anything done in this world. You would rather complain instead of being proactive.

i know people are going to "scream" about what I'm going to say, but I've been smoking since i was 15 (now 52) and no I'm not proud of it, we all know it's bad. I already have a blackberry - does that entitle me to free one to?

As far as I'm concerned they can give "my" phone to someone that really needs it - someone involved in domestic violance or an elderly person - someone who could really use a phone in time of need.

Unfortunately, my blackberry didn't do anything for my smoking habits.

I'm in neither party but I do believe Obama wouldn't be doing what he's doing unless he believe this would help us. Meow, if the republican party members who are blowing heat wants to continue bitching, maybe they need to be bitching a little more about the wonderful president they elected to office 10 years ago. The president that pissed away all of our money and began a war which at first he had a reasonable cause to do so but he was obviously not the most strategic man in the world. I'm sorry but if it came down to it, if Bush represented the republican party as a whole and Obama represented the democratic party as a whole, sign me up as a "dumbocrat". Bush caused the biggest economic spiral since the great depression and were still trying to come back from. Obam has improved our economy whether you like it or not. I'd put money on it that there's a starving kidin Haiti that would love your citizenship. Don't let the border gate hit you on the way out.