Sunday, June 29, 2008

Your Peer May Help You Quit Smoking!

Smoking is bad! It will lead to stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and many other possible diseases. It is merely impossible to find anyone who is not aware of the ills of smoking. Despite hefty taxes, public bans and health warnings, the number of youth picking up this habit is still on the rise. Very often, once a younger starts the first cigarette, chance that he or she would be addicted is high, and this really worries many health experts.

The annual “World No Tobacco Day” was held on May 31, 2008. This year, the theme used by World Health Organization (WHO) is “Tobacco Free Youth”. It aimed to encourage teens to lead a smoke-free lifestyle.

Threats of possible health hazard are unlikely to fear youth, who tend to believe they are invincible. However, if youth is given the right information about cigarettes, they will make the right choice: smoking is bad.

Many have argued that young people smoke because of the influence from the friends surround them. However, a new study found that peer influence could in fact help smoker kick the bad habit.

From 1972 to 2003, two American professors studied thousands of smokers as a social network of relatives, friends and colleagues. Their findings, which were published in June 2008 in the New England Journal of Medicine, reported that groups of friends who smoked would quit not individually but as a whole group. When cluster after cluster of smokers disappeared, those remained would find themselves being isolated with fewer friends.

Smoking cessation groups admitted that their programs would actually work better if they focused on groups, rather than individuals.

Let us hear the confession of a youngster.

“2 months ago, I faced a dilemma. 3 of my close friends at work quit smoking. I then faced a choice: get rid of the cigarettes, or make new smoking friends. I finally chose to quit.”

He further added that he is glad that he is now part of a global phenomenon as clubs, pubs and restaurants around the world is moving to edge smoking out as a lifestyle choice.

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