Smokers increase chances of quitting when they try to with friends, family

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted June 9, 2008

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Researchers found the decision to quit smoking often occurs among social networks with clusters of spouses, friends, siblings or co-workers giving up the habit roughly in tandem, according to a study in the May 22 New England Journal of Medicine.

Researchers based their analysis on a social network of 12,067 people participating in the Framingham Heart Study, a 60-year-old community-based study sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

They found that the closer the relationship between the smokers, the greater the influence when one person quit smoking. When a husband or wife quit, it decreased the chance of their spouse smoking by 67%. When a sibling quit, it reduced the chance of smoking by 25% among their brothers and sisters. A friend quitting decreased the chance of smoking by 36% among their friends. But neighbors did not seem to be influenced by each other's smoking habits.

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