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David Lazer
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Stanley Wasserman
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Yu-Ru Lin
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Ines Mergel
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« The contagiousness of smoking? | Main | .NetMap »

22 May 2008

More on the Social Context of Smoking

In addition to the story by Gina Kolata in The New York Times that David mentioned in his post,

http://wwwimage.cbsnews.com/images/2001/07/17/image301833x.jpg

there is the story by Alicia Chang for the Associated Press, which was picked up by many AP outlets Friends quit smoking? You probably will too.

From that story:

While the study was cleverly done, it does have its limitations.

...... it's hard to tease out whether social influence is mainly responsible for a whole group kicking the habit. Other factors such as public bans on smoking or studies highlighting the harmful effects of smoking may also play a role.

"You can't prove it with this data," he said. "You have to go to people and ask, 'Why did you stop smoking?'"

There's no question that the Framingham data are unique. Let's hope that others will realize that to really study public health issues, you must measure the social contexts that the subjects are embedded in.

Let's hope that others will begin the slow process of gathering data on both public health issues and the proper social networks.

Posted by Stan Wasserman at May 22, 2008 11:25 AM