Introduction: Many people continue to smoke tobacco products despite known negative health consequences, including increased risk of chronic disease and death. Disparities exist in rates of smoking and chronic disease, underscoring the importance of understanding the barriers and motivations to smoking cessation among vulnerable populations, such as socioeconomically disadvantaged people of color.
Methods: This study uses data from a cross-sectional randomized household survey conducted in six low-income neighborhoods in New Haven, Connecticut, USA (N=1205). The objectives were to examine barriers and motivations to quitting smoking among daily tobacco smokers (31.6% of respondents) and sociodemographic differences in endorsement of barriers and motivations.
Results: The two most common barriers to quitting were perceiving it to be too difficult and not wanting to quit. Financial costs, social support, and social influence were themes endorsed highly across both barriers and motivations to quitting. Sociodemographic differences were found, such as women and Black participants being more likely to be interested in a free quitline or quit website; women and Latinos being more likely to be afraid of gaining weight; and women, participants with less education, and older participants being more likely to be concerned about the cost of cessation products.
Conclusions: Understanding barriers and motivations to quitting among disadvantaged populations is crucial. Financial issues, social support, and social norms should be targeted in promoting cessation among disadvantaged, urban populations. Programs, interventions, and policies can also use research about specific barriers and motivations for sociodemographic sub-groups to be tailored, targeted, and more effective.
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