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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Seventeen weeks today: Quitting smoking with a buddy

JLynnJ’s story:
My sister and I took the quitting plunge together. We have both smoked since we were in college, she's 36 and I'm 31. She puffed her last cigg on Jan 15th, mine was on Jan 23rd, of this year. We both used the patch and followed the directions to a "T". It's been over 4 months now, and neither of us have cheated. We even took a trip to Vegas and made it without smoking. To me, this is proof that the buddy system does work!!! So smokers, get a buddy and quit, you will be sooo glad you did.

The urge to smoke is contagious, but quitting apparently is, too. A team of researchers who showed obesity can spread person-to-person has found a similar pattern with smoking cessation: A smoker is more likely to kick the habit if a spouse, friend, co-worker or sibling did as well. What's more, smokers tend to quit in groups and those who don't stop puffing increasingly find themselves pushed to the edge of their social circles, the researchers found.

"Your smoking behavior depends upon not just the smoking behavior of the people you know, but also the people who they know," and so on, said Dr. Nicholas Christakis, a medical sociologist at Harvard Medical School and lead author of the report.
The findings back up previous studies showing that peer influence plays a key role in a person's decision to stop lighting up and provide evidence that the "buddy system" used by smoking cessation, weight loss and alcoholism programs to change addictive behavior works.

The study appears in the most recent issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Advice to smokers who want to quit: Find a friend who smokes, and quit at the same time.

Read another smoking cessation story.

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