Social ties may influence smoking cessation.

May 22, 2008

research

Some fascinating research published in the New England Journal of Medicine this week has identified social links may either enhance your likelihood of smoking or lead to quitting smoking. It all depends on your peer group. Both are important. The editorial [n engl j med 358;21 may 22, 2008] states that increasingly smoking behavior is marginalized to smaller peer groups, while larger peer groups have influenced their members to stop smoking, and that smoking is not accepted among their peers. The journal states that adult smoking is now down to 19%, a significant decrease over the last 30 years. Behavioral changes occurs slowly, As we move to change behaviors that lead to chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes from overeating we must realize that these are strategic policies that may take decades. We must not panic if change is not seen next year or the year after. This message needs to be translated for politicians who only want to fund programs that have results during their current incumbency.