Saturday, May 24, 2008

Smokers have easier time to quit if friends do it too, says Harvard study

URL: New York Times


We know that smoking is no longer a popular habit in the United States, yet it is still prevalent throughout the world. A Harvard Medical School study clearly shows how the new social perception in the United States is helping others in quitting the ugly habit of slow suicide.

The study, by Dr. Nicholas Christakis of Harvard Medical School and James Fowler of the University of California, San Diego, followed thousands of smokers and nonsmokers for 32 years, from 1971 until 2003, studying them as part of a large network of relatives, co-workers, neighbors, friends and friends of friends.

It was a time when the percentage of adult smokers in the United States fell to 21 percent from 45 percent. As the investigators watched the smokers and their social networks, they saw what they said was a striking effect — smokers had formed little social clusters and, as the years went by, entire clusters of smokers were stopping en masse.

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