Personalized Video May Be Useful Anti-Smoking Tool

Subjects watched video depicting them having heart attack; 54 percent abstinent at six months
By Eric Metcalf
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, July 9 (HealthDay News) -- A personalized video that simulates the impact of a myocardial infarction for smokers could be useful as a smoking cessation tool, according to research published in the July 1 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

Robin May, of the University of Sydney in Australia, and colleagues analyzed data from 13 adult smokers with no smoking-related illnesses and a nonsmoking partner. Each watched a video -- featuring photos of themselves and their family -- that depicted the person having a myocardial infarction, along with the impact on the subject's family. Subjects also underwent motivational interviewing by a psychologist.

The researchers found that, at week one, seven of 13 participants (54 percent) reported stopping smoking, and the rest had decreased their consumption. Expired carbon monoxide levels decreased from 15.7 to 3.1 parts per million. At six months, seven participants remained abstinent, five of whom used an additional smoking cessation aid.

"Our approach was based on the observation that smokers are often galvanized into quitting when they have experienced myocardial infarction or cardiac surgery. This quitting pattern is consistent with the catastrophic theory of behavior change. In contrast to public health announcements, the present technique is personalized, enabling the subject to feel some of the personal significance of having a smoking-related myocardial infarction without the need to directly experience the infarction itself," the authors write.

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