Checkup: Positive Messages to Kick the Habit
You may not believe this, but according to, oh, about a billion studies, smoking is bad for you.
Of course weíre already well aware. But just knowing about the health hazards of smoking doesnít make it any easier quit. Which is why, according to a recent study, emphasizing the health benefits of kicking the habit may be a better way to go.
"I donít think itís a surprising finding, but I do think itís an important one."
Thatís Jon Macy, a smoking researcher at Indiana University. He said that positive messages tend to work when there are clear benefits and few risks.
"Using sunscreen as an example, there arenít many perceived risks to using sunscreen. But there are obvious benefits to it, so in a case like that, a positively framed message is likely to be more effective."
So too with quitting smoking, Macy said. Other than the difficulty of actually doing it, thereís really no risk to giving up cigarettes. Not that knowing the benefits makes it any easier to quit, which is notoriously difficult. But thatís all the more reason to emphasize the positives.
"Messaging thatís positive, thatís really encouraging and encouraging people to continue to try and that they understand that itís hard to quit and that itís not unusual that they havenít had success the first few times. Thatís more likely to be more helpful to folks."
To be sure, no single positive message will be enough to get a smoker to quit. But a steady stream of encouragement and information about the immediate health benefits of giving up smoking can make a difference.
Iím Jeremy Shere.