Smoker identity among occasional smokers: findings from Minnesota

Am J Health Behav. 2013 Jul;37(4):525-30. doi: 10.5993/AJHB.37.4.10.


Objectives: To investigate characteristics of occasional smokers who deny being smokers (ie, deniers).

Methods: Data were from 3 rounds of the Minnesota Adult Tobacco Survey (MATS 2003, 2007, and 2010), a statewide, cross-sectional, and random-digit-dial telephone survey.

Results: Nearly half of occasional smokers did not view themselves as smokers. Characteristics that were predictive of being a denier included less perceived harm from secondhand smoke, fewer days smoked, and fewer cigarettes smoked per day.

Conclusions: Denial of being a smoker is primarily characterized by very light smoking. Future communication efforts should be tailored for this group.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Denial, Psychological*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Minnesota
  • Self Concept*
  • Smoking / psychology*