Abstract Rumor and misinformation about oral contraceptives continue to prevail in much of Egypt. This study tests the hypothesis that rumor involvement can have a negative and independent impact on pill usage by focusing on a common misbelief that the pill causes ‘weakness’. The data comes from a 1981–1982 national self-weighted sample survey of 3283 currently married men and women dealing with family planning and mass media behaviors. The analyses confirm that rumor involvement decreases the probability of current or future pill use by previous users and by those who have never used it. Correct knowledge about the pill is shown to enhance pill usage as do other determinants such as social support for birth control and the desire for no more children. The importance of providing strong contraceptive education programs giving deeper consideration to contraceptive and related health beliefs in delivering fertility regulation services is highlighted.