Statistics about smoking are always scary, especially when they’re laid out to explain things like the average life expectancy of someone who heavily smokes combustible cigarettes. Nevertheless, alarming figures are only numbers that will hold no value if you’re someone who ignores the importance of numeracy. While many people buy e-cigs online to use on their journey to quit smoking, the following study indicates that your math ability could also be a factor that will help you to quit combustibles for good.
The academic journal Health Psychology published an end of June study that claims smokers who are stronger with numbers are more likely to want to quit smoking.
Researchers at Ohio State University concluded that the results may be because a better memory for numbers, especially related to something such as smoking risks, will lead to a larger understanding of the perceived risks that comes from smoking tobacco and eventually, a greater intention to quit.
What was the result?
The study consisted of 696 U.S. smokers who were asked to complete an online survey, beginning with a short section on numeracy. The standardized test measured each person’s ability to understand numbers with continuing exercise sections that included a visual representation of different cigarette warning labels accompanied by disturbing images with text warnings such as, “Smoking can kill you”. Commonly known health risk statistics were also a part of the study stating data like, “75.4 percent of smokers will die before the age of 85.”
The purpose was to present smoking-related information and determine how well the participants could recall what they were shown six weeks later. Following what they remembered, partakers in the study were also quizzed on the risks associated with smoking and how likely they were to quit within the next month to year.
“People who had better math skills remembered more of the scary numbers about smoking risks that we gave them, and that made a difference,” said Brittany Shoots-Reinhard, lead author of the study.
The collected results showed that those who scored higher on the math portion of the survey were more likely than others to state that they intended to quit smoking.
Researchers believe that this could explain why smokers who are more educated are more prone to be motivated to kick their habit.
“Smokers who are less numerate tend to have a very superficial knowledge about the health risks of their habit,” she said.
“What we saw here is that people who better understood numbers had a better understanding of the risks. We need to find a way to communicate that to people who aren’t as numerate.”
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