Smokers see cigarettes as their friends

Jan. 15, 2004 at 4:42 PM
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SEATTLE, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- Heavy smokers, those who light up 25 times or more a day,look to cigarettes for comfort and companionship, according to a new U.S. study.

Interviews with 51 heavy smokers in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research uncovered both anger and fear at the thought of quitting, said Beti Thompson of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center of Seattle, which conducted the study.

"Over 90 percent believed that even though smoking was dangerous it was their 'friend.' The danger of losing a friend was more threatening to them than the dangers of smoking, and they worried about what would take the place of cigarettes emotionally," Thompson said.

Thompson and colleagues interviewed the smokers to find out what kinds of psychological traits might be linked with heavy smoking and the ability to quit. Most of the study participants were white men, 35 to 54, who had been smoking for nearly 25 years.

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