KARACHI: Family persuasion and pressure are the most important influences contributing to smoking cessation along with one’s personal concerns for health, shows a recent survey of former smokers.
Titled What Motivates Smoking Cessation?, the study of lower-middle income country is conducted at the Aga Khan University (AKU) under the supervision of Dr Javaid Khan, senior chest physician at the AKU hospital.
The 190 survey participants comprised patient attendants at three tertiary care hospitals, AKU hospital, Liaquat National Hospital and Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre. Majority of them were men, half of them married.
The most common motivation for quitting smoking was found to be personal desire to improve health (71.6 per cent) and family’s persuasion and pressure (31.1pc).
These were followed by reasons such as one’s doctor’s persuasion to quit (11.1pc) and to save money (15.3pc).
While 60.6pc of respondents reported that quitting had been difficult/ very difficult, 83.2pc considered that they had quit smoking permanently.
Most respondents reported having quit abruptly (61.6pc), while the rest succeeded in quitting by gradually reducing their daily cigarette use.
Only 25 (13.2pc) respondents reported having used a smoking cessation aid, with the commonest of these being nicotine replacement therapy (72.0pc).
Only one patient sought professional psychotherapy/counselling. In order to distract themselves from smoking, respondents reported that they tried to think of other things (33.2pc), engage in work (31.1pc) or exercise (27.9pc).
Indeed, 32.1pc of the respondents reported having suffered from a smoking-related illness, and 70.5pc said their family had been helpful in their quitting smoking.
When asked about where knowledge regarding the importance of smoking cessation was acquired, common sources were other lay persons (34.2pc), healthcare professionals such as doctors and nurses (22.6pc), and health warnings on cigarette boxes (12.6pc).
The most common social factors that prompted smoking cessation included peer pressure to quit smoking (23.3pc) and social avoidance by non-smokers (14.7pc).
Most respondents had less than five quitting attempts (83.7pc) and had smoked less than 10 cigarettes per day before quitting (68.9pc).
Although 61.1pc of respondents reported never having felt the desire to smoke again, 30.5pc reported having felt the desire sometimes after quitting.
Published in Dawn, June 4th, 2020