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Real-time data capture with electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation programme: a cloud platform for behavioural research
  1. Max W Y Lam1,
  2. Nelson W Y Leung2,
  3. Baker KK Bat1,
  4. Gary K S Leung1,
  5. Kelvin K F Tsoi1,2
  1. 1 Stanley Ho Big Data Decision Analytics Research Centre, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  2. 2 Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  1. Correspondence to Dr Kelvin K F Tsoi, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 4/F, School of Public Health and Primary Care, Hong Kong; kelvintsoi{at}


Tobacco smoking is a major risk factor for many chronic diseases, which led to the popularity of electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) and showed to be an effective tool for tobacco smoking cessation. However, existing studies on e-cigarette use were based on users’ self-reported data. Detailed and accurate e-cigarette use records can be used to better understand e-cigarette use behaviour and design appropriate tobacco smoking cessation plan. Therefore, a platform for real-time data capture, transmission and cloud storage of e-cigarette usage is suggested to address these issues.

The application of cloud platform for data transfer, storage and analysis on medical research is still at a novel stage. In this study, a cloud-based infrastructure is established for data collection and storage of captured e-cigarette use behaviour; it consists of an e-cigarette, a smartphone, a smartphone application (APP) and a cloud server. Whenever the e-cigarette is inhaled, the time and number of puff will be transmitted to the APP through Bluetooth signal and then uploaded and stored to the cloud through the internet-connected smartphone. The flow of data transmission is performed automatically. E-cigarette smoking history can be recalled in real time and presented in the APP.

This remote cloud platform provides efficient analytical performance on a huge volume of data with high velocity of data creation. The sufficient data accuracy and completeness of e-cigarette use records help to better understand the behaviour and safety of e-cigarette usage and to plan an effective tobacco smoking cessation programme.

  • Lifestyle
  • Medical Apps
  • Remote Monitoring

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  • Contributors Study concept and design, study supervision and revision of the manuscript: KKFT. Programme design and development: MWYL. Drafting of the manuscript: BB. Literature search: NWYL. Technical support and platform testing: GKSL.

  • Funding This work is partially sponsored by the Microsoft Research Asia (MSRA) Regional Seed Grant 2014.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.