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Social Media Smokers Have an Easier Time Quitting

Update Date: Sep 26, 2013 10:37 AM EDT

Social media has become a huge part in people's lives. Not only does it connect people to one another regardless of distance and time, it also allows the users to present themselves in the way that they desire. On top of that, social media has become an outlet for people to ask for help, speak their minds on important political issues, and created a strong community. Now, according to a new paper, social media might also make quitting easier for smokers.

For this study, the lead investigator, Joe Phua form the University of Georgia, analyzed social networking websites that are health-based. Phua was interested in examining the relationship between membership participation and smoking cessation. He discovered that as more people participated in these types of social networks, the online support groups expanded and became more close-knitted. Members reported feeling a strong connection to the other members and became more willing to give and receive social support when it came to smoking behaviors. Members also stated that they felt a sense of trust within the group.

Phua reasoned that this type of relationship centered on trust and community helps smokers quit more effectively. Phua reported that these members were better capable of quitting and had a lower relapse percentage. He believes that these findings could help researchers create new online social support groups that could effectively help people quit smoking and possibly other vices as well.

"This study helps further the notion that social networking sites and other forms of social media can help people to improve their health conditions," said Phua according to Medical Xpress. "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 report, "Participating in Health Issue-Specific Social Networking Sties to Quit Smoking: How Does Online Social Interconnectedness Influence Smoking Cessation Self-Efficacy," was published in the Journal of Communication

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