Social Support Networks

Blog Post created by dr_hurt on May 29, 2008

Many studies have shown that support from family, friends, colleagues or others can improve physical and emotional health. This is also true of stopping smoking. Social support helps a person to stop smoking and stay stopped.

A recent study by Dr. Nicholas Christakis of Harvard Medical School and James Fowler of the University California San Diego indicates the importance of social networks. For over thirty years these researchers followed thousands of people along with their social network of relatives, co-workers, friends, and neighbors. What they found is that people stop smoking in clusters. Over time, when one or two people in a social network stop smoking, others in that network also tend to stop.

This is encouraging, especially to all of you here in the becomeanex community who are connecting with others. Stay involved. Keep talking and connecting, it works. It should also encourage you to reach out to others in your life. Tell friends, family members, neighbors, co-workers and others that you are trying to stop smoking. Help them to help you by letting them know what you want them to do to provide support. This will improve your chances for stopping smoking and staying stopped, and, it may help others throughout your social network.


Dr. Richard D. Hurt is an internationally recognized expert on tobacco dependence. A native of Murray, Kentucky, he joined Mayo Clinic in 1976 and is now a Professor of Medicine at its College of Medicine. In 1988, he founded the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center and since then its staff has treated over 33,000 patients for tobacco dependence. Send your questions directly to Dr. Hurt at AskTheExpert@becomeanex.org