Nostalgia Could Help Smokers Quit

Posted on February 23, 2017

Photo: flickr

Smoking cigarettes takes first place when it comes to the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Starting the habit is easy, but stopping is a lot harder because of the addictive substances, even to the extent that smokers can experience withdrawal symptoms if they haven't had a cigarette within a few hours. However, Ali Hussain and Maria Lapinski, from Michigan State University, suggests a method that can help smokers cease the unhealthy habit, and it's more simple than you might think.

In the past there have been campaigns and public health announcements that tried various ways to stop people from smoking, whether it's a grotesque photo of lung cancer or the image of an innocent child suffering from secondhand smoke. These kinds of messages aim to stop smokers from buying another pack by targeting negative emotions such as fear, guilt or shame. However, Hussain and Lapinski suggest that although these emotions can be a powerful motivator, they don't necessarily work in the long run. Evoking these kinds of feelings only makes the smoker feel worse about himself, which is not always enough to stop them from picking up a cigarette. On the other hand, promoting positive feelings can do better.

Hussain and Lapinski conducted an experiment where smokers were shown a message that invoked nostalgia. By exposing them to such reminiscent emotions, behaviors were influenced. Feelings of yearning and hope had affected the smokers to report more negative attitudes towards smoking. As change starts within, convincing a smoker to alter his mindset and belief about smoking is much more likely to help him quit smoking compared to fear and guilt.

Source material from Medical News Today

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