Reframe the 'lost pleasure' of giving up smoking: study

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Smokers associate words such as “addictive” with cigarettes.
Smokers associate words such as “addictive” with cigarettes.

With increased pressure on nursing homes to become smoke-free environments or create safe spaces for residents to smoke, residents and employees may both feel greater pressured to quit.

One place to start, a new study suggests, is to recognize that the majority of smokers are unhappy about their cigarette addiction.

More than 80% of current smokers report high or very high discontent due to inability to quit, perceived addiction and regret about starting smoking in the first place, according to Georgia State University researchers.

Among 1,200 smokers, the most common thoughts associated with the word “cigarette” included “cancer,” “addictive,” “nasty” and “expensive,” they found. Policymakers should emphasize less the idea that smokers who quit are losing “pleasure,” researchers said.

“All individuals, young and old, including non-smokers, need to be made aware of the overwhelming regret and dissatisfaction that smokers experience in association with their decision to smoke,” they wrote.

Among healthcare professionals, licensed practical nurses are still the group that smokes the most, at around 25% in 2011. The authors suggested that there should be more focus on smokers' subjective well-being when they quit, such as how ex-smokers report being happier.

Results of the study were published online Nov. 28 in Tobacco Control.