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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Changing habits works to control lung disease

One of the things that finally allowed me to gain control of my asthma was changing my lifestyle. So it only makes sense that as I'm educating my asthma and COPD patients one of the things I emphasize is the importance of them changing some of their habits.

In our smoking cessation discussion, I emphasize the importance of changing your habits. For instance, if you have a cigarette while drinking coffee with your friends in the morning, do something else once you quit. If you think about smoking when you're out drinking with your friends, then perhaps it's time to find an alternative form of entertainment.

Turns out that what I learned by common sense was the topic of a recent Anderson Analytics market research study, reported on at Medscapes today in this post, "Study Finds Habit Changer Twice As Effective Than Popular Methods In Overcoming Cigarette Smoking Habit."

The article reminds us that over 9.2 million smokers attempt to quit every year. In the study, some of the participants completed a 42 day program that taught participants to quit smoking by changing their habits, and the other half just used nicotine replacement therapy and/ or medicine like Chantix as a means to quit smoking.

The results of the study were conclusive, as Medscapes reports:

"Overwhelmingly, twice as many respondents (80%) who completed the "Quit Smoking" Habit Changer program reported a positive change in their smoking behavior versus the control group (42%) that employed popular methods other than Habit Changer. A positive change shows that respondents reported quitting smoking entirely or reduced their smoking. On average, Habit Changer respondents reduced their smoking by 13 cigarettes versus eight cigarettes by the control group per day. If an average pack contains 20 cigarettes, on average the Habit Changer group would smoke 1,800 fewer cigarettes or 90 packs less annually than the control group. Looking at the population as a whole, this translates into 95 million less cigarettes."
Other key findings in the study:

  • More than one third of those in the Habit Changer group (34.1%) believed they would stay smoke-free for 12 months versus the control group (6.5%).
  • More than double (65%) in the control group believed that they would return to smoking in the next 12 months versus the participants in the Habit Changer group (29.5%).
  • On average, both groups agreed to a moderately high degree that their likelihood of suffering from a smoking-related chronic disease is 56%, and both groups were equally aware of the health risks caused by smoking and internalized them to a high degree.

Changing your habits is not easy, especially if you've been doing something the same way most of your adult life. For me I suppose it was a bit easier because I grew up with asthma, and was still in my early 20s when I came to the realization I needed to change my habits.

The other advantage I had was that I had my disease early enough, and knew that smoking was not an option for me.

Still, the evidence is overflowing. If you want to gain control of your illness, if you want to quit smoking, then chances are you're going to have to change your some of your habits.

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