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Smoke-free Workplace, Non-smoking Spouse Help Quitters Stay Off the Butt

A spouse who doesn't smoke, and smoke-free work environment play key roles in helping people who have kicked the butt to stay away from cigarettes, a study has found.

The study was conducted by researchers at Indiana University, who also found that environmental factors are more influential than individual behaviours and beliefs when it comes to kicking the butt.

Lead researcher Jon Macy, said that though smoking cessation attempts often are thought of as solitary endeavours, the study showed that there were benefits in cessation programs that involve couples, because marriage to a non-smoker was such a strong predictor of long-term smoking abstinence.

The findings also underscore the benefits of smoke-free workplaces, which are on the increase.

As a part of the study the researchers looked at 327 participants from its Smoking Survey who had quit smoking as young adults.

Smoking Survey is a 27-year longitudinal study of the natural history of cigarette smoking which began in 1980.

Of the participants, 219 did not take up smoking for at least five years, making the study unique because of its ability to examine the demographic and behavioural predictors of long-term success of quitting during young adulthood.

The researchers looked at factors in four areas: smoking-related beliefs, such as the belief that smoking helps people relax or an understanding of personal health consequences of smoking; smoking-related behaviours, such as the number of quit attempts or age when one began smoking; acquisition of adult roles, such as having children; and smoking in the social environment, such as a spouse's smoking status and extent of access to smoking in the workplace.

"We found that two-thirds of the people who quit between the ages of 18-24 were able to stay quit. Of all the factors we examined, the external environment had the largest independent effect, specif ically being married to a non-smoker, and second, working in a completely smoke-free environment," Macy said.

The study, which appeared online, will be published in American Journal of Public Health in August.


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