People who think about the future are more likely to quit smoking than those who don't, a new study says.
Researchers from Newcastle University analyzed data from The Household Income and Labor Dynamics of Australia (HILDA) survey to assess what kind of smokers are more likely to quit.
The Australian survey included 7,000 people whose economic and subjective wellbeing are recorded every year. Researchers Heather Brown and Jean Adams found 1,800 people were planning to quit smoking in 2001.
Researchers gathered data on the participants' future goals, in particular financial security and savings, from the survey. People who had planned for at least three months ahead were categorized as having a longer time horizon while those whose financial planning projected to a week had a shorter time horizon.
Researchers then assessed the groups' quitting success in the following years up to 2008. They found that 76 percent of people who stopped smoking were long term planners.
"It is possible that helping smokers to think about the future a bit more might be a useful way to help them quit," said Jean Adams.
Recent research on time perspective has shown that teenagers who are less future-oriented have more drinking problems than teens that plan about their future. Thinking about future consequences helps people stay away from risky behavior. Previous studies have shown that future-orientation helps diabetics lead a healthy lifestyle and cocaine addicts quit the drug.
Other researchers have suggested that intervention programs aimed at helping people to quit smoking must be future oriented.
Cigarette smoking alone causes more than 80 percent deaths due to lung cancer. Smoking is associated with cancers of liver, bowel, pancreas, bladder and ovary as well. Smoking affects not just the smokers but also those around them. Secondhand smoke can cause heart disease, breathing problems, lung cancer and respiratory tract infections.