Quitting Smoking happens in Social Networks

A study from Harvard Medical School and the University of California, San Diego appearing in the May 22 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine
finds smoking cessation occurs in network clusters. The idea of getting
help to achieve a goal is nothing new but here is empirical data that
supports the support group. The primary finding of this study is that
smoking cessation tends to be contagious, i.e. people tend to make the
decision to quit smoking based on the influence of their social
networks.

The study is important because it points to the fact that legislating
out smoking via taxation and smoking bans push smokers to the fringe of
their social networks, and it is clearly important to have a ‘quitting
network’.  I have not seen the full article yet and am curious as to if the networks are real world networks or if they studies Electronic Social networks such as those on Facebook and Myspace.  Anecdotally the power of these e-networks is very high, but I wonder if they are strong enough to get people to quit smoking.

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