Purpose: To develop an instrument that could be used to assist young adults to determine their perceived consequences about cigarette smoking. The new instrument consisted of 27 items measuring attitudes about smoking selected from the literature and to a convenience sample of 172 undergraduate college students. Psychometric assessment using an exploratory factor analysis revealed four factors (subscales) that explained 48% of the variance. These were labeled attitudes and beliefs about smoking related to emotional benefits, health hazards, self-confidence, and body image.
Conclusions: Statistically significant differences between mean scores of smokers and nonsmokers were found on attitudes and beliefs about the benefits of smoking related to emotional benefits, self-confidence, and body image; smokers' answers indicated that they perceived these as positive consequences of their smoking behavior.
Implications for practice: The newly constructed instrument may be a useful assessment of college students' reasons for smoking. This approach offers new hope for successful cessation counseling and for smoking prevention programs. Currently antismoking methods emphasize the health hazards of cigarette smoking and have not been sufficient in reducing the rate of smoking in the young adult population. Some young people may use smoking as strategy for dealing with stressful situations, weight control, and lack of self-confidence. Thus, smoking cessation programs should also include strategies to use in place of smoking during periods when stress and lack of self-confidence are high.