Social media addiction is a new smoking

  • Sonya Arshad Liaquat National School of Physiotherapy
  • Muhammad Faisal Qureshi Liaquat National School of Physiotherapy
  • Syed Hasan Abbas Rizvi Liaquat National School of Physiotherapy
  • Bakhtawar Ferozali Liaquat National School of Physiotherapy
  • Sidra Abdul Majeed Liaquat National School of Physiotherapy
  • Summaya Khan Liaquat National School of Physiotherapy
  • Haziq Ajaz Liaquat National School of Physiotherapy
Keywords: Social Media, Addiction, Cognitive Skills, Bergen Addiction Scale


Background: Addiction is the behavior of a human in which they depend fully on the substance. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) 2015, over 1.1 billion people smoked tobacco whereas; over 2.14 billion people used social networks. The objective of this study is to assess that is there any similarity between the addiction level of smoking and social network usage.

Methodology: This is a Cross-sectional study in which 80 participants were selected on a convenience based sampling of age 18-25 which were divided into group A (social media users) and group B (smokers). Inclusion criteria for Group A were Social network user since 5 years with user I.Ds on more than 2 social network sites and check notifications every minute however group B includes smokers who were smoking since last 5 years (1 packet per day) with no known co-morbid. All participants were asked to fill the questionnaire constructed on the basis of the Bergen Addiction Scale (BAS). Blood pressure measurement and time required to complete the cognitive task was also recorded. Data analysis was done using SPSS version 21.

Result: Results showed 30% mild addictors, 30% moderate addictors and 40% severe addictors in group A while 40%, 22.5% and 37.5% in group B, respectively. According to mean withdrawal effects on cognitive skills, 97.6% participants in group A were able to complete task within assigned time before cessation and after cessation only 57% participants were able to do so, while in group B 94% were able to complete task before cessation and only 72% of participants were able to do so after cessation. Lastly, the mean BP reading checked in group A before cessation was 114.54/82.34mmHg and after cessation, it increased to 122.47/90.34mmHg whereas in group B, before cessation the mean BP reading was 118.32/84.88mmHg and after cessation it was 121.42/88.63mmHg.

Conclusion: It is concluded that the addiction status of social media users and smokers is almost similar. This leads to the outcome that social network abuse is as harmful as smoking on focus, concentration, cognitive skills and increment of anxiety and BP.


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How to Cite
Arshad, S., Qureshi, M. F., Rizvi, S. H. A., Ferozali, B., Majeed, S. A., Khan, S., & Ajaz, H. (2018). Social media addiction is a new smoking. Annals of Psychophysiology, 5, 38-46.

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