Narrator: This is Science Today. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley's Petris Center on Healthcare Markets and Consumer Welfare are working on a study to determine links between social capital and smoking.
Brown: Social capital is the degree to which people are connected to each other in a given area.
Narrator: Timothy Brown, a health policy expert, says their study uses a social capital index that they developed at the Petris Center, along with data from the California Tobacco Survey.
Brown: We think social capital would work through a number of different mechanisms. One would be the amount of social support or psychological support that you have from your friends and colleagues to actually quit smoking, not everyone knows all the aspects of that. And it also would help transmit information about ways to quit smoking, the dangers of smoking and it also would diffuse certain kinds of negative attitudes towards smokers. So all these three factors would be the mechanism through which we think social capital would affect smoking behavior.Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.