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Why Light Up?

People have wide variety of reasons for smoking, study finds

FRIDAY, May 28, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- There are many variations in people's motivations for smoking, says an article in the current issue of the Journal of Clinical and Consulting Psychology.

The article also highlights a new method for measuring tobacco addiction.

The new questionnaire designed to measure tobacco dependence -- the Wisconsin Inventory of Smoking Dependence Motives (WISDM-68) -- managed to identify a surprisingly wide range of reasons why people smoke.

Previous measures of tobacco dependence focused mainly on physical dependence. WISDM-68 rates smokers' responses to 68 questions in 13 areas, including emotional attachment to cigarettes, smoking to relieve stress, response to other smokers, and smoking without even thinking about it (automatic smoking).

"There is a great deal we don't know about tobacco dependence," article author Megan Piper said in a prepared statement.

"This measure helps us understand why people smoke and points us toward more individualized treatment for tobacco users," Piper said.

The article notes that components of WISDM-68 can help predict relapses among smokers who are trying to quit. Automatic smoking, smoking to alleviate stress, smoking to enhance mental activity, and being in a smoking environment are the motives most connected to smoking relapse.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about how to quit smoking.

SOURCE: University of Wisconsin, news release, May 2004
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