Age and readiness to quit smoking

Prev Med. 1994 Mar;23(2):211-22. doi: 10.1006/pmed.1994.1029.


The relationship between planning to quit smoking within the next 3 months and demographic characteristics, smoking history, attitudes and beliefs about smoking cessation, and motivation was analyzed among smokers in three age groups: 18 to 29, 30 to 49, and 50 years or older. Using random-digit dialing, telephone interviews were completed with 2,353 smokers before initiating a self-help, minimal-contact intervention in the Chicago metropolitan area. Multiple logistic regression was used to identify factors that predicted planning to quit within the next 3 months. The two youngest age groups were most likely to have attitudes favorable to being ready to try to quit smoking (they were more concerned about health effects of smoking, perceived a greater reduction in the likelihood of getting lung cancer, were more determined to quit, and were more confident in their ability to quit). Among all three age groups, one-fourth or less planned to quit within the next 3 months, and desire to quit was the strongest predictor in each group. Among smokers who planned to quit someday, the oldest were most likely to plan to quit within the next 3 months. The findings show that there are important age-related differences in readiness to quit smoking that should be considered when planning and evaluating smoking cessation interventions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Lung Neoplasms / psychology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation*
  • Planning Techniques
  • Risk Factors
  • Set, Psychology*
  • Smoking Cessation / methods
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology*