Researchers in the United States have found that people quit puffing in droves in fact, the cessation occurs in network clusters and is hardly the isolated decision as it might feel like to the individual quitter.
According to the study’s lead author Prof Nicholas Christakis of Harvard Medical School, "We’ve found that when you analyse large social networks, entire pockets of people who might not know each other all quit smoking at once."
"So if there’s a change in the zeitgeist of this social network, like a cultural shift, a whole group of people who are connected but who might not know each other all quit together."
Prof Christakis and fellow researchers at University of California reached the conclusion after analysing 12,067 people who have been taking part in Framingham heart study — a study of the health and habits of nearly an entire town in Massachusetts — for the past 32 years.
The data included smoking habits and, over the years, many participants gave up.
At regular intervals since 1971, the participants recorded births, marriages, divorces and deaths, and listing contact information for their closest friends, co-workers and neighbours.
The analysis of the data showed that — when a husband or wife quit, the chance that their spouse would smoke fell by 67 per cent; when a friend quit, the chances of smoking among other friends fell by 36 per cent.
Moreover, the researchers found that when a brother or sister quit, the other sibling was 25 per cent less likely to smoke; and in small firms, a worker quitting would reduce smoking by his or her colleagues by 34 per cent, a journal reported.
"Interestingly, geography did not appear to play a role because smoking behaviours spread between contacts living miles apart and in separate households. Rather, the closeness of the relationship in the network was the key to the spread of smoking behaviours," Prof Christakis said. Courtsey : DD NEWS