Patterns of motivations and ways of quitting smoking among Polish smokers: a questionnaire study

BMC Public Health. 2008 Aug 4;8:274. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-8-274.


Background: The majority of Polish smokers declare their will to quit smoking and many of them attempt to quit. Although morbidity and mortality from tobacco-related diseases are among the highest in the world, there is a lack of comprehensive cessation support for smokers. We aimed to investigate how Poles, including the medically ill, cope with quitting cigarettes and what their motivations to quit are.

Methods: Convenience sampling was used for the purpose of the study. Individuals attending several health care units were screened for a history of quit attempts. Ex-smokers were defined as smoking previously at least one cigarette/day but who have no longer been smoking for at least one month. Attempts at quitting were defined as abstaining from cigarettes for at least one day. Data on socio-demographics, tobacco use, quitting behaviors and reasons to quit from 618 subjects (385 ex- and 233 current smokers) who fulfilled these criteria were collected with the use of a questionnaire. For the comparison of proportions, a chi-square test was used.

Results: In the entire study population, 77% of smokers attempted to quit smoking on their own and a similar proportion of smokers (76%) used the cold turkey method when quitting. Current smokers were more likely than former smokers to use some form of aid (p = 0.0001), mainly nicotine replacement therapy (68%). The most important reasons for quitting smoking were: general health concern (57%), personal health problems (32%) and social reasons (32%). However, 41% of smokers prompted to quitting by personal health problems related to tobacco smoking did not see the link between the two. A small proportion of ex-smokers (3%) abstaining from cigarettes for longer than a year were not confident about their self-efficacy to sustain abstinence further.

Conclusion: The majority of Polish smokers, including patients with tobacco-related diseases, attempt to quit without smoking cessation assistance, thus there is a need for a broader professional help for them. There is also a lack of general information on hazards related to tobacco and further anti-tobacco campaigns in media are needed. Finally, former smokers should be given more attention and periodic inquiries regarding the smoking habit are worthwhile.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation*
  • Poland / epidemiology
  • Self Efficacy
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires