Research shows: People who are good at math are easier to quit than average people

What do you think being good at math and smoking has to do with each other? But a study by Ohio University, USA said: People who are good at math who are smoking are more likely to quit than others.

“These results may help explain why many studies have found that more educated smokers are more likely to successfully quit,” says associate professor of psychology Brittany Shoots-Reinhard, said the study’s lead author.

But do we have to refer smokers to extra math classes to help them kick the habit? Fortunately, there are always better ways to do it, the researchers say.

For their study, scientists at Ohio University recruited 696 adult volunteers who were smokers. They were given a standardized math test to measure their skills.

The participants were then shown eight different tobacco warning labels, each displayed four times on the screen. Warning labels contain many images depicting the horrors of tobacco, such as a picture of a smoker’s gravestone or pictures of damaged lungs.

Research shows: People who are good at math are easier to quit than average people
Better remembering the harmful effects of smoking will lead to a higher determination to quit.

The special thing is that each of these warning stickers will have an additional caption (according to US federal law) talking about the harmful effects of tobacco, along with information about the probability of risks for smokers. For example, one sticker reads: “Smoking can kill you. 75.4% of smokers will die before the age of 85, compared with 53.7% of non-smokers.”

At different points in time, participants were asked to self-assess their emotional response to each label, along with their perceived reliability and degree of personalization.

At the end of the trial, each person was given a questionnaire to test how much information they remembered about the harms and risks of smoking. Volunteers were asked to relate to their own level of risk and answer a decisive question: Do they think they will quit in the next 30 days, or within a year?

Participants were then released and scheduled to return six weeks later to take the test again.

Publishing the trial results in the journal Health Psychology, the authors say the study reconfirms the findings from previous research. They say that highly emotional warning labels (with a graphic of damaged lungs) are less likely to stay in a smoker’s head immediately after viewing, compared to warning labels that are less emotionally charged. (contains animated graphics such as tombstones).

However, after 6 weeks, smokers tended to recall more intensely emotional graphics than weakly animated cartoon graphics.

Beyond all the effects of the pictures, though, the scientists found that those who scored higher on the initial math test tended to have better memories of the risks involved. tobacco, including statistics. And this is linked to better awareness of the harmful effects of smoking.

“Those with better math skills remembered more of the scary numbers about smoking risk that we gave them, and that made all the difference,” says Shoots-Reinhard. And this is associated with stronger intention to quit.

Thus, people who are better at math mean they are better able to remember the numbers about the harmful effects of tobacco. Better remembering the harmful effects of smoking will lead to a higher determination to quit.

Shoots-Reinhard said the results of this study are useful to health officials and policymakers to assess how they are providing risk information to smokers.

“Smokers with poor arithmetic abilities often have very superficial knowledge of the health risks of their habit,” says Shoots-Reinhard. “What we see here is that people who understand the numbers better understand the risks.”

That means the information printed on the warning labels on the outside of cigarette packs is not being communicated effectively to those who need to understand them most. Graphics and slogans are not enough, smokers need to know the numbers as large and intuitive as possible.

“We need to find a way to communicate that to people who don’t understand numbers well,” says Shoots-Reinhard. To improve that, she recommends legislation requiring cigarette manufacturers to use simple infographics such as infographics to help smokers with poor numeracy skills better understand what they’re talking about. risk from your habits.

“We want people to understand the risk information to make more informed decisions. The results of our study show that it can help them make the decision to quit,” says Shoots-Reinhard. .