When a celebrity is diagnosed with a smoking-related cancer, interest in quitting smoking among the general public increases, according to a new study.
Huffington Post reports that a ” team of researchers found that when Brazil President Lula da Silva was diagnosed in 2011 with laryngeal cancer, which he said was caused by smoking, online search activity regarding quitting smoking and media coverage on quitting smoking increased in the days after. Plus, this interest in smoking cessation remained higher than normal even a month after his diagnosis was announced.
“This study is the first to demonstrate that celebrity diagnoses can prompt the public to engage in behaviors that prevent cancer,” study researcher Seth M. Noar, a health communication professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said in a statement. “Harnessing this finding will save far more lives than screening alone.”
“Noar and his colleagues, from the Santa Fe Institute, San Diego State University and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, examined Google news archives to look at media coverage, and also analyzed Googled searches, in the weeks following the announcement of da Silva’s laryngeal cancer diagnosis in October 2011. They found that news coverage about quitting smoking rose 500 percent right after his diagnosis was announced, and stayed higher by 163 percent for the week following his diagnosis. During this time, Google searches for quitting smoking also were 67 percent higher than normal. Continue reading “Celebrity cancers discourage smoking”