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Is smoking contagious?

Juliet Wilkinson
Oncology Nursing
From a psychosocial perspective I would have to say yes. From an infectious disease standpoint I would say no. Is your health directly affected if the people around you smoke -- yes. Will you automatically start smoking because the man next to you lit up -- no. Peer pressure, stress, family members who smoke and plain old curiosity may lead to your first cigarette. However, you have a choice to say 'no' to a potential life-long habit that will eventually harm your health.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
You don't usually think of smoking as contagious. But if a contagious disease or condition is one that can be transmitted from one person to another by either direct or indirect contact, smoking could be loosely defined as contagious.

Just think about people who consider themselves to be social smokers, lighting up when they're with friends. Of course, being next to someone who smokes doesn't mean that you'll end up becoming a smoker yourself. You develop a smoking addiction -- you don't catch one. But spending your time with smokers does make it easier for you to pick up a cigarette.

If you find yourself around smokers, why not try to make quitting or not smoking contagious? Remind friends and family that quitting could save their lives. Who knows? Maybe they'll catch the quitting bug.
No, there is no way to become a smoker in an infectious way, that is, via a bacteria or a virus. Smoking is a behavior; children whose parents smoke or whose peers smoke are more likely to become smokers.
Irwin Isaacs
Psychology
If you spend a good deal of time around smokers either at work or socially, it is more likely for you to adopt that behavior.
Robert S. Kaufmann, MD
Internal Medicine
It is not truly contagious but typically if your friends smoke you will smoke also so groups seem to smoke together.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.