Government Spends $400K on Cigarette-Sensing Undies

AbleStock.com/Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- With most Americans having to tighten their belts in a sputtering economy, taxpayers might be miffed to learn that the government gave more than $400,000 to develop underwear that can detect cigarette smoke.

The dough came in the form of two grants totaling $402,721 to the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. The grant allowed researchers to create the Personal Automatic Cigarette Tracker or PACT.

According to the National Institute of Health, the device -- the prototype of which is sized like a vest (an underwear-sized garment is the goal) -- is to better study when and how people smoke, as self evaluations are often inaccurate.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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