What factors motivate smokers to quit?

March 9, 2011
Health psychologist Amy Baraniak (right) is embarking on a study to see what factors motivate people to give up smoking. A volunteer demonstrates the hand-held machine that research participants will use to test the 'age' of their lungs.

This week people across the country will vow to give up something for Lent, and those items could include sweets, chocolate or cigarettes.

Psychologists at the University of Derby are using this week to launch awareness of a new research study - to find out what factors help people to give up smoking on a long term basis.

The research is being carried out by trainee health psychologist Amy Baraniak, a Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Derby. Amy is embarking on the research study with psychology colleagues at Staffordshire University.

She wants to hear from volunteers across Derbyshire aged over 34 who currently smoke, to explore what factors might motivate people to quit smoking.

Amy said: "It is commonly known that smoking has been directly linked to a range of health problems such as . It is predicted that these illnesses will become a larger problem in the coming years.

"This is because high numbers of people who continue to expose themselves to tobacco smoke means that more people will be affected by respiratory problems. It also takes a while for the damage to be done, so there could be an increase in health problems for people in the future.

"This study attempts to measure a number of possible factors such as how well the research participants' lungs are working, their smoking history and their current smoking behaviour. Understanding the factors that may motivate people to stop smoking could be useful in helping people at risk of ill health to stop ."

As part of the study, participants will be invited to breathe into a hand-held machine which will help to assess the 'age' of their lungs. The study will seek to assess if this strategy is useful as a motivator in helping smokers to quit.

People will not be able to take part if they suffer from (COPD), emphysema, or another serious lung condition such as , have a current diagnosis of dementia or are aged 34 or younger.

Explore further: Retail tobacco displays make it tougher to quit

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