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Male Smokers Need Friends To Help Quit Smoking

Quitting smoking is hard. In many cases a person will try to quit 30 or more times before finally succeeding. And even when someone decides they want to quit, the likelihood of succeeding during any given attempt is quite low.

Statistics on smokers

Globally five times more men than women smoke. And they tend to smoke more on average per day than women.

In 2015, it was revealed at the Kuala Lumpur Nicotine Addiction Conference by Deputy Director-General of Health (Public Health) Datuk Dr. Lokman Hakim Sulaiman, the number of smokers among Malaysian men population has shot up to 38% while that of female is 1.4%. The Sun Daily reports.

“This would mean roughly 4.7 million smokers, out of nearly 30 million Malaysians. Most start before the age of 18.”

Deaths because of smoking

Smoking is also linked to a many life threatening diseases — from lung disease to heart disease to risk of stroke. In fact, the World Health Organisation estimates that half of all tobacco users will die from causes directly related to smoking.

So, with men being the majority of all tobacco users worldwide, what can be done not only to encourage them to quit, but to help them succeed?

Easier for men to quit smoking than women

Studies show that men attempt to quit smoking four or more times more than women, which shows they have both the interest to quit and the determination to try again after several failed trials.

It is clear that men and women react differently to smoking. So the methods and strategies for quitting must reflect their unique experiences,  Men’s Health Research explains.

In a new study led by UBC researchers at the Men’s Health Research program they list suggestions to help men quit smoking.

Support from friends make quitting smoking easier

The study found that men are motivated best by peer-led interventions (friends), and with support from people who have went through the same experiences. When the men in the study heard stories of success from other men who succeeded after several attempts, it helped them understand that quitting smoking is a continuous battle, but that with dedication they too can be successful.

Gayl Sarbit, who worked on the study, said that the most interesting finding, was that men didn’t want to hear about negative statistics.

“I was surprised to learn that men do not want to hear any more about why smoking is bad for them,” said Sarbit. “They want to focus on the positive benefits, and learn more about tools and ways that can help them quit.”

Men also prefer friendly and supportive competition. These competitions can play on masculine characteristics to encourage quitting, such as confidence, control, and comradery.

The most significant result was that men wanted to learn from others.

“Men wanted to connect with other men for support,” Sarbit said. So we need to develop resources that allow men to learn from, and support one another.

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