Carbon Monoxide Testing as Part of Your Tobacco Treatment Program

Time to Read: About 3 minutes

This information describes how to use an application (app) and a carbon monoxide testing device to help you quit smoking. It also explains why breath carbon monoxide testing can help you be successful in the Tobacco Treatment Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK).  

You will be taking breath tests using the icoVita app and a device called the iCOquit® Smokerlyzer®. This device measures the level of carbon monoxide in your breath when you breathe out.

How to Download the App and Use the Device

Please scroll down to the sections “Instructions for Downloading the icoVita App” and “Instructions for Taking a Breath Test.”

Why Testing Carbon Monoxide is Important

A testing device gives you important feedback. We often measure blood pressure, temperature, and oxygen to learn more about what’s happening inside a person’s body.

The iCOquit device measures carbon monoxide from cigarettes. This toxic gas blocks some oxygen from getting into your red blood cells. Carbon monoxide is a major cause of the shortness of breath and low energy that many tobacco users feel. The device can help tobacco users get more in tune with their body by tracking carbon monoxide caused by smoking.

Why Testing Helps Motivate People Who Smoke to Quit

The measurement you see after using the device tells you how much carbon monoxide is in your body. That information can motivate you, because it measures your progress during tobacco treatment. You will likely see your carbon monoxide level change over time. Some people say the device makes them feel more responsible and in control. It gives them the power to make changes as they work on quitting for good. Combined with counseling, the device helps support motivation during treatment.

As carbon monoxide measurement levels drop, you may see other benefits of quitting. This can include breathing more easily and having more energy. Your MSK tobacco treatment specialist will talk with you about how your measurements can help you quit smoking.


Instructions for Downloading the icoVita App

There are 3 ways you can download the app:

  • Download the app wherever you get your apps from, such as the Apple App Store or Google Play. Look for the icoVita logo to find the right app to download (see Figure 1).
  • Download the app at
  • Scan the QR code (see Figure 2).
Figure 1. The icoVita logo

Figure 1. The icoVita logo

Figure 2. The QR code

Figure 2. The QR code


  1. Turn on Bluetooth on your mobile device. The app also will remind you to turn on Bluetooth.
    • If you have an Apple mobile device (iPhone or iPad) turn on Bluetooth. Swipe down from the top of the screen on newer phone, or swipe up on other models. Tap the Bluetooth logo (see Figure 3).
    • If you have an Android phone, turn on Bluetooth by swiping down from the top of the screen. Tap the Bluetooth logo. You may have to turn on location services to connect to Bluetooth.
    • You can also turn on Bluetooth by opening Settings on your Apple or Android device.
Figure 3. The Bluetooth logo

Figure 3. The Bluetooth logo

Instructions for starting the iCOquit Device

  1. Open the icoVita app. Tap the + button at the bottom of the screen.
  2. Tap the “Take Breath Test” button.
  3. Get your iCOquit device. Click the button on the device once (see Figure 4). When the blue light blinks, you are connected to the app. Your device will only connect to the icoVita app. You cannot connect it without using the app.
Figure 4. The device “On” button

Figure 4. The device “On” button

Instructions for Taking a Breath Test

  1. Once the device is connected, press the “Start Test” button when you’re ready to begin.
  2. Take a deep breath. Hold it for about 10 seconds, or for 15 if you can.
  3. Put the device to your mouth. Do not cover the vent on the back of the device.
  4. Slowly blow into the device until you empty your lungs. In about 10 to 30 seconds, the app will show your CO results on your screen. You are now done with your test.

To also can watch a video on how to take a breath test. Please go to or scan the QR code (see Figure 5).

Important note: This video will tell you to take a selfie. Please ignore that step. You do not need to take a selfie to do a breath test at MSK.

Figure 5. The video QR code

Figure 5. The video QR code

Care of the Device

To clean the device, wipe the outside with a slightly damp cloth. Do not let water get into the breath or exhaust vents. Never put the device in liquid or splash it. Never use alcohol or cleaning solutions with alcohol, as this can damage the CO sensor inside.

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Last Updated

Friday, February 25, 2022