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Social Networking May Be The Answer To Your Smoking Addiction

A recent study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, has found that while the patch and gum have helped in the past, the new hero in the fight against cigarette addiction is Twitter. A study conducted by Cornelia Pechmann, a marketing professor based out of UC Irvine, has found that trial participants who were given the option of tweeting each other on a regular basis were more successful at quitting smoking than those who did not make contact through the website. Medical News Today states: “Prochaska, associate professor of medicine at Stanford, found that overall engagement in two consecutive Tweet2Quit groups was high, with 78 percent of members tweeting their fellow study subjects at least once during the 100-day study.”

Not only did the group find higher success rates among those who tweeted, but researchers found that more than half of the participants continued to tweet their fellow subjects well past the trial end date.

How The Tweets Made A Difference

These daily messages acted as a motivational tool, but also connected smokers to other smokers, allowing them to recognize that they were not alone in the experience. Not only were tweets allowed between participants, but general automated tweets were also sent out to subjects, encouraging them to contact one another and spend more time initiating conversation over Twitter. Times of India explains: “The average number of tweets per person was 72, and 60% tweeted past the 30-day mark. One group had a smoking cessation rate of 42%. Using lessons gleaned from that trial, researchers tweaked the auto-messaging process, and the other group had a success rate of 75%.”

While many other online resources and mobile applications have begun appearing worldwide to help with this major health issue, the Twitter experiment has shown a much higher rate of success among those working toward quitting. The human to human contact seems to be the factor which ignites the courage and dedication it takes to drop this habit, while informative videos and blogs lack the companionship and personal touches that this method of interaction allows for.

Types Of Tweets And How They Help

Tweeting is a pretty versatile function in terms of social media; it can include a number of factors such as video links, images, quotes, and personal statements. The participants used this platform to launch themselves into a number of different discussions and quitting techniques including sharing advice with each other, motivating people when they came close to quitting, and how to get through moments of weakness. iDigitalTimes suggests: “Cigarette smoking claims 480,000 American lives annually from firsthand and secondhand smoking and costs the nation more than $289 billion a year. While public health experts are promoting many methods to quit, the success of smoking cessation is not always guaranteed.”

There may be no guarantee with the Twitter approach to cessation, but it shows great promise in the field of social interaction therapy for addictions. Although this is only one type of addiction, finding support through tweeting may prove to be useful in the future for various other forms of addiction therapy as well.

Seeking Motivation and Support

Fortunately, if you are trying to quit smoking you don’t need to join a research study to find a support group through social media. With many groups forming on Facebook, Twitter, Forums, and various other online portals, finding support is as easy as searching the internet. You may also be able to find a local group to become involved with by contacting your community center or other local organizations such as the church or addictions outreach center.

Sometimes having a live partner in the flesh is the best way to increase the motivation necessary to ignore that next craving, but when you get an urge to smoke after lights out, taking advantage of a Twitter or other online relationship with a fellow quitter can help take the edge off through a late night chat. Keeping each other on the right path, and aiming for success with like-minded people has shown success through many other venues of addiction control, such as Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. While cigarette smokers may not share the same negative connotation that alcoholics do, the substance is still highly addictive, and can come with a variety of lasting side effects.

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