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Individual risk helps smokers quit

Feb. 5, 2010 at 11:41 AM

AUCKLAND, New Zealand, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- Giving smokers information about their own individual risk of serious illness helps motivate them to quit smoking, researchers in New Zealand say.

Lead author Dr. Robert Young of the University of Auckland in New Zealand says risk assessment tools that identify those at greatest risk for smoking, such as spirometry -- a puff test to measure lung function -- and genetic susceptibility testing, appear to help engage smokers and improve their smoking cessation rates.

When smokers see their individual risk as a result of lung function or genetic tests, that personalized information is likely to trigger a quit attempt, and will make that quit attempt more likely to succeed, Young says.

"Personalized risk assessment has been the mainstay of coronary artery disease prevention and has resulted in significant mortality reduction over the last decade," Young says in a statement.

"Such an approach could be equally applied to smoking cessation, now that we have predictive risk assessment tools that identify those at greatest risk of lung-related illness from smoking."

The study is published in Postgraduate Medical Journal.

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