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Drug Alcohol Rev. 2008 Jan;27(1):21-7.

What does it mean to want to quit?

Author information

1
VicHealth Centre for Tobacco Control, The Cancer Council Victoria, Victoria, Australia.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION AND AIMS:

To report on the prevalence of attitudes and beliefs about the importance of wanting to quit and need for use of cessation assistance, that may act as barriers to quitting smoking and adopting cessation assistance.

DESIGN AND METHODS:

National telephone survey of 802 randomly selected adults (685 smokers, 117 recent quitters).

RESULTS:

Seventy per cent of smokers believed that 'wanting to quit' was both a necessary and sufficient condition for being able to quit. While only one-third of smokers believed that they were too addicted to be able to quit, only a quarter believed they could quit any time they want to. Belief that use of cessation assistance is a sign of weakness was endorsed by 35% of participants, and related to stage of change.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS:

Beliefs about the importance of wanting to quit are commonly held. Many smokers appear to believe that a rational, unambivalent desire to quit is needed before it is worthwhile trying. Short-term impulses to act are not perceived as sufficient. The role of cessation assistance in helping smokers form a rational desire to quit appears to be poorly understood by the majority of smokers. There is a need to engender greater understanding of the potential value of cessation aids to smokers experiencing ambivalence about wanting to quit.

PMID:
18034378
DOI:
10.1080/09595230701710829
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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