A study from Harvard Medical School and the University of California, San Diego appearing in the May 22 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine finds smoking cessation occurs in network clusters. The idea of getting help to achieve a goal is nothing new but here is empirical data that supports the support group. The primary finding of this study is that smoking cessation tends to be contagious, i.e. people tend to make the decision to quit smoking based on the influence of their social networks.
The study is important because it points to the fact that legislating out smoking via taxation and smoking bans push smokers to the fringe of their social networks, and it is clearly important to have a 'quitting network'.