As a designer, I strongly believe that design's exceptional power transcends its esthetic dimension in an unlimited number of ways. Good design either solves or causes problems. It can shorten or extend queues. It can facilitate or complicate the filling out of a form. But can design also combat smoking?

“Good design is innovative. Good design must be useful. Good design is aesthetic design. Good design makes a product understandable. Good design is honest. Good design is unobtrusive. Good design is long-lasting. Good design is consistent in every detail. Good design is environmentally friendly. And last but not least, good design is as little design as possible.” These are the words of Dieter Rams, one of the greatest industrial designers, who has designed a plethora of timeless products for Braun. The above quote encapsulates the essence of a concept called “design thinking”.

Design thinking is a process that stems from knowing the end user and their needs, constantly challenging presumptions, redefining problems, creating innovative solutions and prototypes as well as testing and learning from experience and real-world situations. The process comprises five stages: empathizing, defining, ideating, prototyping and testing. I used design thinking as my starting point for designing the Quittr cigarette case and conceptualizing the Quittr method.

Emphatize. Get to know yourself. Ask yourself what smoking means to you. When and why did you start? When you light your first cigarette in the morning, what does it mean to you? Ask yourself why you want to quit. Are you worried about your health? Do you want to protect your children from passive smoking? Define your personal motive. One is enough. Write it down and answer the question why. What is the main reason you want to stop smoking?

Define. Define your goal. The clearer that goal is, the easier it will be to achieve. Try to put down your goal in one sentence. For instance, “I will never smoke a single cigarette again” or “I will halve my daily cigarette use within a year.” Elaborate on your goal. Let it sink in. If you find your goal too ambitious, feel free to redefine it. Even baby steps will take you closer towards you goal.

Ideate. Plan activities that will replace your smoking habits. One the one hand, you will get a substantial amount of extra time each day. On the other hand, you will have to spend this time doing something else, otherwise you will quickly fall back into your old habits. There are countless possibilities, ranging from meditation to new sports activities and hobbies. Think about how you can avoid doing things that you associate with smoking. This could be anything from morning coffee to green tea.

Prototype. Try out different things. You might not try everything you plan out and certain activities might not be attractive enough in the end. Abandon activities that do not work and try new approaches or methods. It is important to remain proactive and keep going when times get rough. It is also important to forgive yourself for any small mistake or failed attempt and not take it too personally. Be proactive and innovative. And never give up.

Test. Get to know yourself. The key to success is getting to know yourself. The journey of quitting smoking can be long and demanding, but you have to persevere and never give up. Ask yourself what works for you and whether you are on the right path. If the feeling is good, then you probably are. If not, you will have to consider adopting a different approach and finding new ways that work for you. The bottom line is – never give up!