Willingness Among College Students to Help a Smoker Quit

School of Medicine, University of Minnesota's.
Journal of American College Health (Impact Factor: 1.45). 11/2008; 57(3):273-80. DOI: 10.3200/JACH.57.3.273-280
Source: PubMed


Between February and March 2003, the authors examined college students' willingness to help a smoker quit and assessed demographic and psychosocial characteristics associated with willingness to help.
Survey respondents were 701 college students (474 women, 227 men) aged 18 to 24 years who indicated there was someone close to them whom they thought should quit smoking.
Respondents completed measures of willingness to help. The authors used multivariate logistic regression analysis to examine respondent characteristics associated with willingness to help.
About half (54%; n = 381) reported that they "definitely would" be interested in helping this smoker quit. Characteristics significantly associated with willingness to help were lower levels of perceived stress, being a non-tobacco user, concern for a boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse who smoked, and more severe levels of distress caused by this person's smoking.
A high percentage of college students are willing to help a smoker. Future studies are needed to engage college students who are nonsmokers in tobacco control efforts, including the Healthy Campus 2010 initiatives to reduce smoking among college students.

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    • "Understanding how social network members can assist quitters would be useful because the majority of adult smokers attempt to quit on their own (Larabie, 2005) because they do not have the inclination or time to participate in behavioral treatment programs (indeed quitlines reach only between 1% and 2% of smokers; North American Quitline Consortium, 2009). Social network members can influence smokers to seek professional help such as from quitlines (Muramoto, Wassum, Connolly, Matthews, & Floden, 2010; Patten et al., 2008), but network members are also themselves motivated to support smokers in their quit attempts in any way they can (Thomas et al., 2008), especially judging from the number of calls to quitlines by family members or friends of smokers (Zhu, Nguyen, Cummins, Wong, & Wightman, 2006). They are even willing to undergo training in order to better help family members or friends quit (Campbell, Mays, Yuan, & Muramoto, 2007). "
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    ABSTRACT: INTRODUCTION: The majority of smokers attempt to quit smoking on their own, but in any given year, only 5% or less are successful. To improve cessation rates, tapping social networks for social support during quitting has been recommended or tested in some interventions. Prior reviews of this research, however, have concluded that there is little to no evidence that partner support interventions are effective. DISCUSSION: Given the theoretical importance of the concept of social support, its demonstrated value in treatments that are implicitly supportive (e.g., telephone counseling), and the general lack of a guiding conceptual framework for research on the effects of peer or partner support for cessation, we describe theoretical models that explicitly incorporate social support constructs in predicting motivation for and success in quitting. Conclusion: Better differentiation of support concepts and elucidating causal pathways will lead to studies that demonstrate the value of social relationships in improving smokers' likelihood of cessation.
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    ABSTRACT: This study assessed differences between Black and White young adults on prior attempts and motivation to help a smoker quit. A total of 1,621 undergraduates (912 Black, 709 White; 63% female) ages 18-24 years completed a cross-sectional survey. Overall, 54% reported they had previously tried to help someone else stop smoking (52% among Blacks vs. 58% among Whites, p=0.016). Among nonsmokers who indicated they were close to a smoker whom they thought should quit, Blacks were most often concerned about a family member whereas Whites endorsed concern most often for a friend (p<0.001). Blacks were more likely than Whites to indicate interest in learning ways to help this smoker to quit (p<0.001) but there was no significant differences on motivation level (46% of Blacks and 42% of Whites reported they were "very" or "extremely" motivated to help this person quit). After adjusting for gender, the results remained unchanged. Tobacco control efforts could focus on optimizing these supportive behaviors as well as expressed motivation and interest in helping a smoker to quit among young adult nonsmokers.
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    ABSTRACT: Effective cessation services are greatly underutilized by smokers. Only about 1.5% of smokers in Minnesota utilize the state-funded QUITPLAN Helpline. Substantial evidence exists on the role of social support in smoking cessation. In preparation for a large randomized trial, this study developed and piloted an intervention for an adult nonsmoking support person to motivate and encourage a smoker to call the QUITPLAN Helpline. The support person intervention was developed based on Cohen's theory of social support. It consisted of written materials and three consecutive, weekly, 20-30 minute telephone sessions. Smoker calls to the QUITPLAN Helpline were documented by intake staff. Participants were 30 support people (93% women, 97% Caucasian, mean age 49). High rates of treatment compliance were observed, with 28 (93%) completing all three telephone sessions. The intervention was ranked as somewhat or very helpful by 77% of the support people, and 97% would definitely or probably recommend the program. Five smokers linked to a support person called the QUITPLAN Helpline. An intervention using natural support networks to promote smoker utilization of the QUITPLAN Helpline is both acceptable to a support person and feasible. A controlled randomized trial is under way to examine the efficacy of the intervention.
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