Human Journey

Smokers Have More Friends…and They’ll Need Them

Photo by Sam Abell


Despite years of anti-smoking campaigns featuring everything from catchy slogans to graphic photos of diseased lungs, public health officials have been unable dispel the notion that lighting up is something the cool kids do. A new report in the Journal of Adolescent Health confirms that popular high schoolers are more likely to smoke than their less popular peers.  Moreover, popular students pick up the habit earlier in life than do other kids.

Later in life, when the habit takes its toll on a person’s health, having friends may come in handy. Specifically, new research shows that married lung cancer patients have a higher survival rate than do single patients. Scientists from the University of Maryland found that 33% of married patients were still alive three years after chemotherapy and radiation treatments, compared to only 10% of their single counterparts. The difference was even more profound when factoring in gender. Forty-six percent of married women were three-year survivors as compared to only 3% of single men. In addition, white married couples had higher survival rates than did African-American couples.

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Since 2005, Michael has been a librarian at National Geographic.

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