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Quitting Smoking is Contagious

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Quitting Smoking is Contagious

by tdixon

Let’s say you and a bunch of friends are all out at a bar. One lights up a cigarette and slowly but surely, the rest of the group follows suit and before you know it, the whole place is packed with smoke. Smoking, though highly addictive on its own, tends to be a social activity. Many people are first introduced to the act in middle or high school by their peers and find it a “cool” activity to do together. I personally never joined this group and was deemed less popular, but I think it’s safe to say that my lungs and are in better condition than those of my classmates who chose to start early on. I never did understand the need to poison one’s system.

Just as it is “cool” to join the social bandwagon of tobacco, research has shown that it is equally acceptable to quit smoking as a group as well. A recent article on BBCNews.com spoke to this trend, illustrating how a person’s decision to quit gradually influences his/her social network, “often spreading through friends, family and work mates, leading them to quit, too”. Generally speaking, the closer one is to a smoker, the more influence that person has over the person considering quitting. Dr. Martin Hagger, a health psychologist from the University of Nottingham said “People like to be in the same boat. People like to empathize with each other. It happens with other health behaviors such as getting fit - support from people close to you really helps."

What’s also interesting to note nowadays is the continual push to ban smoking from public places. Oregon in particular is banning all smoking from inside public places, including bars, bowling alleys and bingo halls at the beginning of 2009. This ban is largely due to the fact that the majority of people in Oregon do not smoke. This could be because it is now cool to quit together. I know my non-smoking friends and I will find it much easier to stay out and socialize without the unsavory breathing conditions. Hopefully in my lifetime, smoking will be a distant memory and we will all be able to continue on with our lives in good health.

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