A new study says that in order to kick the smoking habit for good, the strategy begins and ends at home. The best way to ensure success, it suggests, is to make the home completely smoke-free. And researchers have the statistics to prove it.
From a national health survey conducted in 2000, a team of researchers from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention tried to see what things helped smokers rid their dangerous habit. They wanted to gauge how critical certain factors were in a successful smoking-cessation campaign.
They gathered about 770 people who successfully quit (congratulations!), meaning they had not relapsed in the past seven to 24 months. The other group, with more than 3,200 people, consisted of smokers who had attempted to quit but couldn’t quite get over the hump. The study was reported in a recent edition of the “American Journal of Public Health.”
One factor stood out for the researchers: people who quit successfully were significantly more likely to have put a firm no-smoking rule in place in their home. The numbers are well beyond the realm of coincidence: smokers were 10 times more likely to quit if there was no smoking in the home. That means no smoking not only for themselves, but everyone. Those who successfully rid their nicotine addiction were also less likely to switch to a “light” cigarette. (This has proven in the past to be virtually just as damaging as a “regular” cigarette.) The researchers also found that a no- smoking rule in the workplace truly helped people quit for good.
This would suggest that if one is unable to smoke in fewer and fewer places, the urge to light up may start naturally (and psychologically) dissipating. It also suggests that a smoker needs the help of his or her family to support the path to quitting. Smokers may scoff at the idea of establishing a no-smoking rule in their own houses. But for those who really want to stop, this is clearly a major step toward success. Perhaps the most major.
Across the world, cigarettes represent the leading cause of preventable death. In the U.S. alone they kill nearly 450,000 adults each year. On top of that, untold millions in the country have illnesses tied, directly or indirectly, to smoking. Cancer and chronic obstructive lung disease lead the pack. It is estimated that only 10% of smokers who try to quit every year are successful.