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Addicted to e-mail? You're not alone

Most people check e-mail about five times a day, and many can't go without it for more than three days at a stretch, AOL survey finds.

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If you find you're checking e-mail about as often as you inhale, you're not alone.

Be it on vacation, at the wheels or straight out of bed, an American e-mail user finds it difficult to resist its lure for long, according to a study released Thursday by America Online.

The survey revealed that, on average, people check their mail about five times a day, and a quarter of them cannot go without it for more than three days at a stretch. More than 4,000 people across 20 U.S. cities participated in the survey, carried out by AOL in partnership with Opinion Research.

As many as 77 percent of respondents to the survey said they have more than one e-mail account. For 41 percent, morning coffee can wait, but not e-mail; accessing e-mail is the first thing they do in the morning.

For six out of 10 users even vacation is not the time to take a break from e-mail. Almost all of the respondents felt that it is very or somewhat important to have access to e-mail.

About half of the respondents, or 47 percent, said they check their personal e-mail at work, albeit sporadically.

The survey also found that exchanging e-mail addresses is as important as passing around home phone or cell phone numbers. Nearly 32 percent admitted they would give their e-mail address to a new acquaintance, compared with 37 percent and 28 percent of participants who expressed a willingness to part with their home and mobile numbers, respectively.

One-quarter of those surveyed said they share their e-mail addresses with their spouse, children, friends or roommates.

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