Risk denial about smoking hazards and readiness to quit among French smokers: an exploratory study

Addict Behav. 2007 Feb;32(2):377-83. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2006.04.002. Epub 2006 Jun 5.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Counseling
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Denial, Psychological*
  • Developed Countries*
  • Female
  • France
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Motivation*
  • Self Efficacy
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology*
  • Social Class
  • Whites