The habit of smoking tobacco can be given up through watching the consequences of the habit in real life, according to Dr. Lori Bastian, of the Duke University Medical Center in Durham. This is particularly so while taking care of a relative who is suffering from the disease. A telephone counseling program has also been designed by Bastian and her team. This extends over a period of 12 weeks which is inclusive of instructions with regard to dealing with stress related problems.
The relatives of lung cancer patients who smoke are being targeted by the program. Those who wish to give up the habit are provided with information with regard to the dangers of smoking, in addition to nicotine patches. As at present 340 people have been enrolled in the study, and a total of 480 people are planned to be enrolled. The self-reports of the participants will be cross-checked through saliva tests. The research conducted by Bastian has revealed that 15% of the people who smoke give up the habit when a relative of theirs is diagnosed with cancer, and this figure is sought to be raised to between 30% and 40%.
It may also result in the entire family of the lung cancer patient giving up smoking. But the power of nicotine addiction should not be underestimated either, as the sight of a suffering relative fails to have the necessary impact on many of those who watch them suffering. The social and psychological factors should also be taken into account in smoking cessation programs. Many people simply lack the will power to give up the habit. In Canada, as many as 14,000 Ontarians are being targeted for giving up the habit of smoking through the Smoking Treatment for Ontario Patients (STOP) program. Ontario has a 20% smoking population.