Exploring the association between perceived risks of smoking and benefits to quitting: who does not see the link?

Addict Behav. 2002 Mar-Apr;27(2):293-307. doi: 10.1016/s0306-4603(01)00175-7.


This report explored associations between different measures of smokers' perceived risks of smoking and benefits to quitting and the extent to which these associations varied by demographic and other characteristics for 144 smokers. We hypothesized greater perceived risk of smoking would be associated with greater perceived benefits to quitting and would be strongest among smokers who were concerned about health effects of smoking and motivated to quit. Results indicated smokers' perceived themselves at risk for lung cancer regardless if they continued or quit smoking and was strongest for smokers who were older and minimized the importance of reducing lung cancer risk. There was a weak correlation between perceived risk for lung cancer when compared to nonsmokers and perception that quitting smoking would reduce lung cancer risk and was weakest for African Americans, lighters smokers, and smokers with higher intrinsic relative to extrinsic motivation for cessation. In conclusion, these subgroup differences in the relationship between perceptions of risks and benefits could be important to consider to increase the relevance and motivational potency of smoking cessation interventions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk-Taking
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / prevention & control*