Social media may help you quit smoking

Social media may help you quit smoking

Smokers have a new weapon to help them quit and it’s all just a click away. A recent study reports that smokers who are active on social media sites can find a strong support system to help them to quit smoking. Not only do they create bonds but also leads to higher percentages quitting the habit.

The study, published online in the Journal of Communication, surveyed more than 250 people who are registered for a health-based website.

Study author Joe Phua, said in a statement, he found that when people engage on these social networking sites that are focused on quitting smoking, they are building a community that helps them quit and refrain from smoking.

Researchers looked at specific websites that are meant to help smokers quit. These websites all use typical social media features, including profiles, message boards, ability to add friends and news feeds.

The users of the sites were asked to share how much time they spent on the site and the effects it has on their outlook to quit, beliefs and views on smoking. They were also asked about how much support they received from their fellow website users.

Results showed that participants were on these sites about four hours each week, posting messages and gaining on average about 43 new friends each within the sites.

The participants reported that making these friendships have helped and enabled them to quit.

Phua said that participants on these types of sites form their own community that is committed to each other’s well beings and motivates them to quit.

“Smoking is an addictive behavior and a chronic health problem,” Phua said, in a statement. “And so I think many medical professionals don’t approach it as an urgent situation. Which means a lot of people find it difficult and expensive to get help from the medical community, particularly those in rural areas. But online sites are easy to access, cheap and a direct connection to a larger and credible community that offers strong social support for those wanting to quit.”

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One Comment

  1. Julie Nakis

    What a great way to kick a bad habit at a cheap price! I’d like to see a similar study that correlates losing weight and social media. I’m sure it would have similar result to this study as eating can be just as addictive of a behavior as smoking, and having a sense of community and motivation in weight loss forums could prove successful!

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About the Author

Sarah Scroggins
Sarah Scroggins

Sarah Scroggins, health enews contributor, is the director of social media at Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She has a BA and MA in Communications. When not on social media, she loves reading a good book (or audiobook), watching the latest Netflix series and teaching a college night class.