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Doctor Blog--Smoking and Peer Pressure

Posted Jul 07 2008 7:12pm

Most of the time, when someone says "peer pressure", there are negative

overtones.  In the May 22, 2008New England Journal of Medicine, researchers

with the Framingham Heart Study detail their findings of how groups of

people smoke together and quit smoking together.  The title is

"The Collective Dynamics of Smoking in a Large Social Network".

Smokers are most likely to beinfluenced to stop smokingby a spouse who

quits smoking, a friend who quits, a co-worker who quits, a sibling who quits,

in that order.

The strength of the influence ishighest from a spouseand lowest from a sibling.

The conclusion is that smoking behavior spreads through close and distant

social ties and thatsmoking cessation occurs in groups.

Smokers were found to be increasingly marginalized. 

The implications are that there would be a public health impact with policies or

programs that target groups of inter-related smokers (smokers can be

encouraged tostop smoking by peer pressure).

Who says peer pressure is bad?

Along the theme of parenting that seems to keep cropping up at this blog,

how might a parent apply this informationas they are raising their children?

I suppose the most obvious first choices would be to encourage children to

choosetobacco free friendsand to makehome a tobacco free environment

for those who live there as well as those who visit.

                           Cigarette smoking is injurious to health

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