NPR published a great story this week about how keychain breathalyzers, and BACtrack Vio in particular, can positively affect people's drinking behaviors. By using a tool like the Vio, drinkers can monitor their blood alcohol content safely and effectively. And being so small and convenient, there's no reason not to use it on the go.
"The quantified self movement has turned monitoring steps, sleep and other activities with technology into a self-improvement pastime. Could the next frontier be alcohol consumption? It turns out that the industry that makes blood-alcohol testing devices has been trying to turn us into quantified drinkers for years. And new products on the market are making monitoring even easier by linking it to your smartphone," they say.
NPR interviewed BACtrack President and Founder, Keith Nothacker for the article. "'Previously there was a stigma with alcohol testing, and we've been fighting that stigma,' says Nothacker, who started the company in 2001 as a college senior, and is now based in San Francisco. 'We want people to talk about their BAC and not be embarrassed.'"
To prove the efficacy of using a keychain breathalyzer like the Vio, NPR also spoke with a public health researcher familiar with the breathalyzer technology. "'The keychain breathalyzer allows people to find out how much they've had to drink objectively. And they can get a pretty good sense of whether it's a good idea to drive,' Michael McDonell, an associate professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington, tells The Salt. 'In study after study, we see that just objectively tracking your use of [a substance] will reduce your use.'"
NPR also commented on the new Guess Your BAC feature in the BACtrack app. After using the app for a time, the reporters found they "were able to more accurately guess our BAC, which the Vio asks you to do before every measurement."
In the end, they gave the Vio high marks.
"All in all, though, a key chain blood-alcohol reader is a handy tool to have around. And we can easily imagine a future where people sign their texts and emails with their BAC: 'This email was composed at BAC .06.'"