In most developed countries, a significant part of the population is still smoking despite comprehensive tobacco control policies. Among other reasons, many smokers may endorse self-exempting beliefs that help them to deny the smoking hazards for themselves. We investigated the relationship between smokers' risk denial and their readiness to quit making use of a French cross-sectional survey conducted in the Paris Ile-de-France Region (N=939 smokers). Self-exempting beliefs were quite widespread among participants and two of them were significant predictors of a low readiness to quit: considering that one's cigarette consumption is too low to be harmful and believing that one's way of smoking can protect from smoking-related diseases. Future tobacco control messages and interventions should specifically address these self-exempting beliefs that reduce smokers' cognitive dissonance and then inhibit their willingness to quit.