NEW YORK - For years, smokers have been exhorted to take the initiative and quit - use a nicotine patch, chew nicotine gum, take a prescription medication that can help, call a help line, or just say no. But a new study finds that stopping is seldom an individual decision.
Smokers tend to quit in groups, the study finds, which means smoking cessation programs should work best if they focus on groups instead of individuals. It also means that people might help many more than just themselves by quitting - stopping can have a ripple effect prompting an entire social network to break the habit.
The study, by Dr. Nicholas Christakis of Harvard Medical School and James Fowler of the University of California in San Diego, followed thousands of smokers and nonsmokers for 32 years, from 1971 until 2003, studying them as part of a large network of relatives, coworkers, neighbors, friends, and friends of friends. - The Boston Globe
How is that nicotine gum stuff anyway?