Our research was based on the BUS model, which provides guidelines for developing mobile applications for health. This model is supported by theories of behavior change, user-centered design, and social marketing. This study aimed to determine secondary school students’ perceptions of a mobile application design for smoking prevention.
In 2018, qualitative research was conducted in three secondary schools located in the central part of the state of Veracruz, Mexico. Focus groups were established to explore beliefs about smoking and mobile phone use. The sketch technique was used to identify the characteristics for the mobile application.
The students’ perception of smoking allowed us to determine behaviors that can be changed: 1) associating cigarettes with a distraction from problems can be prevented; 2) peer and family pressure as a trigger to starting smoking can be avoided; and 3) tobacco use can be disassociated from being popular. Regarding the design of the mobile application prototype, an entertaining game with levels to help teenagers stay active was proposed.
Games for health can help modify user behavior and even positively influence their values. The final product was the prototype for the ‘No le entres’ (don’t jump in) application. An important finding was that adolescents living in both urban and rural settings use mobile phones similarly.