A Journal of Communications published study states it is easier for social media users to quit smoking.
People who utilize health-related social networking sites are far more likely to abstain from smoking according to a paper titled, “Participating in Health Issue-Specific Social Networking Sites to Quit Smoking: How Does Online Social Interconnectedness Influence Smoking Cessation Self-Efficacy.”
Seeing as billions worldwide log onto social media sites like Facebook and Twitter daily – many of whom are statically likely to be smokers who may be considering giving up the habit or need support while doing so – this is encouraging news.
The CDC states nearly half-a-million Americans die prematurely from smoking-related illnesses every year. Another 8.6 million live with serious smoking-related ailments like respiratory disorders and cancer. Despite the health risks of lung and oral cancers, approximately 46.6 million US adults smoke cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and use smokeless tobacco products.
For those interested in quitting smoking, there are several cessation tactics available. These range from nicotine replacement therapy – gums, lozenges, patches, and vaping devices (like DavinciVaporizer.com) – to counseling and support groups.
The author of the aforementioned paper, Joe Phua of the University of Georgia, led the research into how social media plays a role in quitting smoking, reports Science Daily.
For his research, Phua examined health-based social media sites that focus on helping members to quit smoking. Finding were assessed from survey responses from 252 registrants of health-centric websites.
Between 2009 and 2010 Phua concentrated on registered members of health-focused portals, including iVillage, Why Quit and Inspire. The majority of social media users were white, around 40, relatively affluent, and well-educated, reports WebMD.
Participants completed an online questionnaire about the amount of time they spent on the site and the degree to which each felt their attitudes, beliefs, sense of self and specific views on smoking were shared by other site members.
Phua found that as participation on these sites increased, members began to build a sense of community. Specifically, they started to identify strongly with other members, giving and receiving more social support over time.
The social homophily of those struggling with similar issues resulted in an increased use and participation on the quitting smoking sites. Ultimately, members found it easier to quit smoking, maintain abstinence from smoking longer, and were able to assuage temptation during trigger situations – going out drinking, out to eat, or while dealing with stress.
This study helps further the notion that social networking sites and other forms of social media can help people to improve their health.