Stay fit if you want to keep smoking

| August 16, 2016

Having to walk farther to the nearest cigarette vendor might help smokers quit their habit, according to a HealthDay News story citing the results of a new study.

Researchers in Finland tracked data on almost 21,000 current and former smokers to discover how changes to the walking distances from their homes to the nearest tobacco shop affected smoking behavior.

They found that for every added one-third of a mile the smoker had to walk, there was a 20-60 percent increase in his or her odds of quitting the habit.

But increasing the distance needed to buy cigarettes had no impact on whether a former smoker would resume the habit.

The study couldn’t prove cause-and-effect; it could point only to an association.

The research was led by Anna Pulakka of the University of Turku, and published online on August 15 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

“Creating policies to relocate tobacco outlets – rendering them less convenient and further away from residential areas – may be an important new strategy to encourage quitting,” said Patricia Folan. who directs the Center for Tobacco Control at Northwell Health in Great Neck, New York.

But Dr. Len Horovitz, a pulmonary specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said the study raised more questions than it answered.

“Would having to drive farther have the same result?,” he asked. “If smokers start to exercise, would they be less willing to quit because they can more easily walk the distance?”.

Category: Breaking News

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