Aerobic exercise might be the best way for long-time smokers to kick the habit, University of Utah researchers say.

Robert D. Hill, an assistant professor of educational psychology and study coordinator, said exercise might help smokers want to quit.During World War II, the U.S. Army subtly encouraged smokers through persuasive advertising messages, encouraging soldiers that smoking might help them cope with stress. The U.'s study concentrates on long-time smokers.

Some older smokers have a difficult time quitting because they were exposed to years of positive conditioning. "We think education is something older smokers lack and that's why they haven't quit," Hill said. "They just don't know how."

Preliminary results of the U. study, funded by a grant from the American Association of Retired Persons, show that two groups - those who chew nicotine gum and those who exercise - display a higher likelihood of quitting.

Some smokers use cigarettes as a tool to celebrate, concentrate and relax. To kick the habit, smokers can incorporate a combination of exercise and relaxation techniques as a replacement.