An email from our friend Dr. Joel Moskowitz


During the past year, I've done several journal reviews of papers on
smartphone addiction among young adults. The studies were conducted in
different countries. The wireless industry claims to have sold more than
one billion smartphones last year. Thus smartphone addiction is quickly
becoming a global public health issue.

Now for some anecdotal observations ...  Yesterday, I observed student cell
phone-related behavior while walking across the UC Berkeley campus to do a
lecture on the health risks of cell phones. More than half of the students
I passed were carrying or connected to a smart phone. Eighteen students
carried the smart phone in their hand while they walked and were not using
it. Eighteen students were wearing a wired headset connected to a device in
their pants pocket. I could not tell whether or how they were using this
device (which was likely a smart phone) as I kept walking. Finally, seven
students were on a phone call holding their smart phone next to their ear.

While waiting outside a lecture hall for the prior class to leave, I
observed many undergraduates browsing their smartphones to fill the time
before their next class. As the lecture hall emptied out, many students
pulled out their smartphones as soon as they exited the hall.

If we rolled the clock back to 1960, what would I have observed walking
across campus?  Would many of the students I described above been smoking
cigarettes?  *Have we substituted one addiction for an another? Has the
smart phone replaced the cigarette?*

BTW, I am proud to say that the UC Berkeley campus, along with the other UC
campuses, has a tobacco-free policy. I did not observe any tobacco use on
my trek across campus.


A link to the news story which appeared in *The Guardian* yesterday and to
the study abstract can be found on the *Electromagnetic Radiation Safety *web
site at

Note: I don't have access to this journal, and this was not one of the
papers I reviewed so I cannot attest to its methodology.


Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D., Director
Center for Family and Community Health
School of Public Health
University of California, Berkeley

*Electromagnetic Radiation Safety*

News Releases:
Twitter:                 @berkeleyprc

One thought on “Has the smart phone replaced the cigarette?

  1. Heh, heh… There IS a difference: You’re always downwind from those damn smart phones…

    And: Cellular phone service is a lethal environmental toxin, rather than just a friendly form of air pollution…

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