Smoking cessation is being made easier by the social networking sites Facebook and Twitter. Authorities in New York and Florida have successfully used these sites to spread positive messages about quitting smoking.
In Florida, a service called Qwitter has been set up to post daily advice to people on Twitter who want to give up. Meanwhile, New Yorkers who are keen to quit can join the NYC Quits Smoking group, where they can share stories with fellow quitters.
One New Yorker attempting to stub out the habit is 28 year-old Justin Randolph. He joked that this was his 800th attempt at smoking cessation, but insisted that with the help of the Facebook group it was proving to be his most successful yet. “Sometimes when you quit you feel all alone, and the online reinforcement is very comforting,” he said.
Justin is not the only person taking solace in the online community of people attempting to give up smoking. Smoking cessation groups have thousands of followers. In the past these quitters would have had to seek out local support groups. Now they simply have to turn on their computers for advice and encouragement from their peers.
Millions of Americans smoke. At one point, President Obama was among their ranks. At the first check up he had with a physician after entering office, the Head of State was told that he needed to give up smoking. Obama had previously confessed in an interview that despite having partially given up the habit, he still had the occasional cigarette. It is not yet known whether Obama has now successfully quit.
Obama was not the first president to have struggled with a tobacco addiction. Franklin D. Roosevelt, JF Kennedy and Bill Clinton all had the same vice. If only they had had access to social networking sites, maybe they could have stopped?