Roby the smoking cessation bot


Roby is our first smoking cessation chatbot born in April 2021. Its main function is getting to know smokers’ behavior (e.g., smoking history and habits) by a conversational assessment. It also provides personalized normative feedback and discusses with smokers potential reasons to quit smoking. We “trained” Roby with MI (motivational interviewing) techniques and skills, so it could be a helpful addition in motivating smokers to quit!


We built Roby as our first prototype and conducted an experimental study with it in April 2021. The aim of the experiment was to explore the effectiveness of integrating MI (motivational interviewing) into a chatbot in motivating smokers to quit. Roby conducted interactive assessments with smokers about their smoking behaviours, provided normative feedback, and discussed with smokers potential reasons to quit. We compared Roby with a non-MI chatbot, and found that both chatbots helped in increasing smokers’ motivation to quit smoking, while MI-styled Roby did not have a significant difference with its non-MI counterpart.


Roby is a rule-based chatbot and follows pre-defined dialogue scripts. It is capable of: 

  • Catching information we need from user input (e.g., daily cigarette consumption, years of smoking);
  • Understanding smokers’ readiness to quit (e.g., within the next month, within the next 6 months, not ready at all);
  • Catching and classifying potential reasons to quit smoking from user input (e.g., health-related, cost-related, or appearance-related reasons, etc.);


Come have a chat with Roby on

But you have to pretend that you’re a smoker, if you are not one 🙂

In order to talk to our bots;

  1. You need to create an account first. You can do this with a mock-up email address, without revealing your personal identity!
  2. Once you log in, Roby will greet you, which will show up on the left side of this page, under the title “Direct Messages”.
  3. Simply click on the chatbot name on the list to open the chat.
  4. Just say “Hello” to it, and it will be with you in a second.
  5. Please read the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Statement sections on the website before talking to our chatbots

To talk to an earlier version of Roby, you can use the following links:


For more information, see below our publication on this study.

He, L., Basar, E., Wiers, R. W., Antheunis, M. L,. & Krahmer, E. (2022). Can chatbots help to motivate smoking cessation? A study on the effectiveness of motivational interviewing on engagement and therapeutic alliance. In BMC Public Health, 22(1), 1-14.