Smokers good at math are more likely to want to quit. Why?

Researchers found that smokers who scored higher on a test of math ability were more likely than others to say they intended to quit smoking.

The reason: They had a better memory for numbers related to smoking risk, which led to perceiving a greater risk from smoking and then a greater intention to quit.

“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 and research assistant professor in psychology at The Ohio State University.

This study is one of the few to link the ability to work with math — called numeracy — with smoking, Shoots-Reinhard said.

“These results may help explain why many studies find that smokers who are more educated are more likely to successfully quit,” she said.

The study was published online recently in the journal Health Psychology

Source: Ohio State University

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