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Beliefs about smoking-related lung cancer risk among low socioeconomic individuals: the role of smoking experience and interpersonal communication.

Authors
  • Bekalu, Mesfin Awoke1
  • Minsky, Sara2
  • Viswanath, Kasisomayajula1
  • 1 Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.
  • 2 Center for Community-Based Research, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, USA.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Global health promotion
Publication Date
Sep 01, 2019
Volume
26
Issue
3
Pages
88–93
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1177/1757975917732758
PMID: 29110569
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Previous research has documented that smoking prevalence is generally high among low socioeconomic groups and that tobacco industries continue to target these population groups. However, little research has investigated the beliefs of individuals with low socioeconomic position (SEP) about the association between smoking and cancer risks. In this study, we examined beliefs about smoking-related lung cancer risk and the role of smoking experience, mass media exposure and health-related interpersonal communication among a sample of low SEP population. Data were gathered from 324 urban poor recruited from adult education centers in the greater Boston area, Massachusetts, USA as part of a larger project called Click to Connect. While we collected a variety of data at baseline and follow-up, the data for this study come from the baseline survey alone. We found that individuals with smoking experience tend to be better than those without in perceiving the lung cancer risks of smoking. Moreover, we found that health-related interpersonal communication with friends and family members is positively associated with beliefs about the link between smoking and lung cancer. Our findings suggest that low SEP individuals with smoking experience might be more exposed to anti-tobacco messages than are low SEP individuals without smoking experience. This could suggest that anti-tobacco interventions thus far may have done very little in raising the awareness of low SEP nonsmokers about the dangers of smoking and that they may have little potential to avert the initiation of smoking in this population.

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