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Association between tobacco industry denormalization beliefs, tobacco control community discontent and smokers' level of nicotine dependence

Addictive Behaviors
DOI: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2013.03.004
  • Tobacco Industry Denormalization
  • Tobacco Control
  • Tobacco/Smoking
  • Smokers' Beliefs/Attitudes
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Population Survey
  • Education


Abstract Introduction Tobacco industry denormalization (TID) informs the public about the tobacco industry's role in the tobacco epidemic and is an important component of a comprehensive tobacco control strategy. Although TID beliefs have been noted in adult smokers and associated with intent to quit, research has not evaluated whether they are affected by smokers' level of nicotine dependence. The present article sought to concurrently examine how attitudes towards the tobacco industry and tobacco control groups may differ among smokers of varying levels of nicotine dependence. In addition, it evaluated how these attitudes and beliefs may be associated with smokers' intentions to reduce or quit smoking. Methods A random digit dialing telephone survey was conducted of 889 Canadian current daily smokers, 18years and older. Results Attitudes towards the tobacco industry were mixed among the entire cohort and differences in beliefs towards the tobacco industry were not found among smokers of varying levels of nicotine dependence. However, smokers that held strong TID beliefs were 5 times more intent to quit smoking than those without such beliefs. Compared to smokers with low level of nicotine dependence, heavy smokers were more likely to report strong overall displeasure with the tobacco control community (OR=1.98, 95% CI=1.23–3.19, p=0.005), however there were no differences with regards to future intent to quit. Conclusions The absence of strong negative sentiment toward the tobacco industry among smokers as a whole suggests that more targeted anti-industry messages are needed, raising greater awareness of tobacco industry practices within smokers and non-smokers alike. As heavier smokers' discontent with the tobacco control community highlights increasing social disapproval and pressure to quit smoking, future educational and media strategies used for smoking cessation purposes may benefit from emphasizing more of the positive attributes associated with quitting smoking, as opposed to the negative features of smoking itself.

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