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psychological addiction
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Helping A Friend Quit Smoking
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Helping A Friend Quit Smoking

Today I read an article that really piqued my interest. Basically it was yet another experiment that someone ran trying to find a cost effective and reasonably easy way to help people quit smoking. This particular study caught my attention because it actually looked like it had promise in my view.

My Experience

I don't know about you, but I have found myself helping a friend quit smoking on more than one occasion in my life. I have never been able to really tolerate the smell of cigarettes, but I am an amateur jazz musician, so unfortunately it comes with the territory. So I have many friends who either have smoked, or currently smoke cigarettes.

With this experience, comes the knowledge that there is one simple thing that separates a smoker from successfully quitting. That is the person themselves. The physiological addiction to nicotine is without a doubt a formidable hurdle to get over, but in the end, the real hurdle is the psychological addiction to smoking.

Now, if any of you have engaged in helping a friend quit smoking, you know full well that anyone who is in the process of quitting will deny that there is anything other than the physiological aspect until they are blue in the face. That's O.K. Here is where this article comes in, and ultimately why I think that it has potential, even beyond the positive results that the study achieved.

The Study

So here goes nothing. The study took in a group of 5,800 smokers who were interested in quitting and separated them into two groups. One group received text messages that were designed to be motivational toward the goal of quitting. The second group received text messages that were not at all smoking related. So far so good? We have a simple system in place that is not much more than a reminder in motivational form.

The Results

The results are awesome! The group that received the helpful texts actually had TWO TIMES the amount of people successfully quit! A saliva test was used to verify these results. Now, before you get too excited about these numbers. Out of the 5,800 participants, 4.9% of the placebo group, and 10.7% of the motivational text group successfully quit smoking. This still is quite the increase in success rate considering that on average, had this group been left entirely to their devices the numbers would look much like the placebo group, which would chop a significant amount of success out of the equation.


The reason I found this to be so great, and different from other approaches I have seen and tried, is that this is not the least bit contrived or medical, or even really all that annoying in the grand scheme of things. Helping a friend quit smoking is not easy by any means. Usually it seems like you end up not knowing what to do and then you sulk in defeat when you catch them smoking again. With this model, you can take the knowledge that your friend wants to quit, and you can help them by keeping them accountable even when you aren't around.

Helping a friend quit smoking can easily be one of the greatest things you can do for them. In essence you are helping them to save their life. I hope that this tip will make helping a friend quit smoking a reality for you.

Street Talk

Thanks for the great article on quitting smoking Leroy. Wish there was that kind of support 20 years ago when I quit.

  about 1 decade ago
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