Social media helping young adults quit smoking

Social media helping young adults quit smoking

Social media may not be on the list of traditional methods to quit smoking like the patch, gum or counseling, but it’s gaining momentum.

A recent study published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research found that young adults who use social media were twice as successful at quitting than those who used a more traditional method. The study involved smokers between 19 and 29 years old who tried quitting using Smokers’ Helpline, a telephone hotline, or Break It Off, a web-based and social media approach.

When using the Break It Off program for three months, 32 percent of smokers quit smoking compared to 14 percent of their peers who used the telephone hotline.

“Forming a community support system has always been known to significantly help with the long term success of breaking addictions,” says Dr. Anthony March, an addiction medicine specialist with with Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill. “Social media seems to be the natural and necessary progression of these crucial communities.”

The online tool compares quitting smoking to breaking off a romantic relationship, making it easily relatable to the study demographic. The mobile app calls smoking a “total creep” that one needs to avoid through all times of temptation, and the app helps users through those tough times. By tracking the “break-up progress,” displaying one’s current mood and level of craving, and having a Quit Coach available to call at all times, there are multiple channels of support.

Break It Off uses social media as additional means of support so that young adults are not alone in the process. It advises users to post weekly progress, statistics and milestone achievements on Facebook.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.