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Addict Behav. 2018 Dec;87:62-68. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2018.06.024. Epub 2018 Jun 27.

Who are the smokers who never plan to quit and what do they think about the risks of using tobacco products?

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School of Public Health, Georgia State University, P.O. Box 3995, Atlanta, Georgia 30302, USA. Electronic address:
Department of Population Health Sciences, Medical College of Georgia, 1120 15th Street, Augusta, Georgia 30912, USA.
School of Public Health, Georgia State University, P.O. Box 3995, Atlanta, Georgia 30302, USA.



Smoking cigarettes is the most harmful way to use tobacco. Smokers who do not plan to quit present a particular challenge in reducing the morbidity and mortality from tobacco use. Switching to a lower harm product might encourage them to end their use of combusted cigarettes. This study aimed to better understand smokers who do not intend to quit (including their demographic and worldviews as indicators of their social, cultural, and political dispositions) and their perceived risks of cigarettes and possible lower-risk products such as e-cigarettes.


Participants were 2572 current smokers. Data were pooled from 2015 and 2016 cross-sectional surveys of national probability samples of U.S. adults and analyzed with multivariable logistic regressions.


Smokers who never plan to quit comprise 14.3% of current U.S. smokers and are more likely to be older (24.2% among 65+ years old vs. 9.8% among 18-24) and less likely to have ever used e-cigarettes. A one-unit increase in hierarchical worldview (measured on a 1-6 scale) was associated with a 20% increase in the odds of never planning to quit. Those who denied that cigarettes cause disease or death (aORs between 1.6 and 2.0) or were uncertain (aORs: 2.5-2.7) were more likely to never plan to quit compared to those who agreed. They did not view risks of e-cigarettes substantially different compared to smokers who plan to quit.


One in seven U.S. smokers never plans to quit and might benefit from interventions which reflect their hierarchical worldviews and increase their risk perceptions of combustible cigarettes.

[Available on 2019-12-01]

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