Social Media Users Find It Easy to Quit Smoking

First Posted: Sep 27, 2013 06:16 AM EDT

Quitting smoking is difficult but  not impossible. A latest finding reveals that social media makes it easier to kick the habit. People who engage in health specific social networking sites find it easier to quit smoking.

The latest study led by Joe Phua from the University of Georgia came up with this conclusion after analyzing health based social networking sites that focus on helping its members give up smoking.

In the past century the use of tobacco has taken hundreds of millions of lives and still continues to be a worldwide issue. Smoking is disastrous for a person's health. It causes cancer, heart diseases, stroke, sleeping problems, erectile dysfunction and many more devastating diseases.

Reports according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that nearly 4.8 million Americans smoke cigarettes and this trend is more common in men than women. Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable death in the United States that accounts for one of every death each year.

In this study the researcher looked at the sites that help members to quit their smoking addiction. On examining the sites, Phua noticed that as the number of the people joining the sites increased, the members began building a sense of community. They began identifying more strongly with other members on the site and received and offered more social support and built a sense of trust among each other.

It was the increased social connectivity and participation that made it easier for people to quit smoking.

The studies conducted in the past on the use of social media for giving up smoking were basically intervention studies This is the first study that looked at health based social networking sites and how members develop strong social interconnectedness with other site members who are dealing with similar health issue.

Phua concluded, "This study helps further the notion that social networking sites and other forms of social media can help people to improve their health conditions. These can be used as a standalone way to improve chronic health conditions, or as part of a holistic treatment plan that includes both professional offline help and online social media sites."

The finding was reported in the Journal of Communication.

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