PAHO Introduces a Spanish AI Tool to Help Quit Smoking

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) made its Spanish-language artificial intelligence system that can help individuals quit smoking available to the public. It offers real-time communications with users through text or voice chat.

The application, called Florencia, is the Spanish version of the existing AI called Florence. Both versions provide scientifically proven information regarding the dangers of smoking and ways to fight the epidemic.

In the World Health Organization’s (WHO) website for Florence, the AI is described as a “digital health worker to help you quit tobacco.”

PAHO Introduces a Spanish AI Tool

Furthermore, the website says, “After a short conversation via video or text, Florence can help you build your confidence to quit smoking, make a plan, and recommend toll-free quitlines or apps.”

The system “was created with technology developed by San Francisco and New Zealand based Digital People company Soul Machines, with support from Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud.”

Primarily, it offers different WHO-offered services that can help combat smoking including phone lines, mobile applications, and other similar cessation tools.

The release of Florencia is in line with PAHO and WHO’s campaign called “Commit to quitting tobacco.” This project seeks to create safe spaces in which people can pursue their goal to quit smoking.

The campaign will focus on a more conducive environment and public policies. This includes establishing smoke-free settings, increasing tobacco taxes, and increasing access to ways that can help them quit.

The AI system comes in time for the 2021 celebration of World No Tobacco Day, which focused on different projects that make a better environment for quitters by empowering smokers and giving them the tools they need to quit.

The WHO highlighted the importance of cessation. It said, “Quitting smoking is more important than ever as smokers are more likely to develop severe COVID-19, compared to non-smokers.”

To start, smokers just need to visit the Florencia or Florence website and follow four steps. PAHO and WHO recommend setting a specific day to quit, tell people around them, expect possible obstacles, and remove tobacco products nearby.

PAHO noted the beneficial effects of ceasing. It highlighted that quitters enjoy lower blood pressure and heart rate within 20 minutes of quitting.

Carbon monoxide levels in the bloodstream also go down within 12 hours, while lung circulation and function improve within 12 weeks. Moths after, quitters experience a reduction in cough and dyspnea.