Why don't smokers want help to quit? A qualitative study of smokers' attitudes towards assisted vs. unassisted quitting

Kylie Morphett, Bradley J Partridge, Coral E Gartner, Adrian Nicholas Carter, Wayne Dallas Hall

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36 Citations (Scopus)


The development of prescription medication for smoking cessation and the introduction of evidence-based guidelines for health professionals has increasingly medicalised smoking cessation. There are debates about whether medicalisation is a positive development, or whether it has devalued unassisted quitting. In this debate the views of smokers have been neglected. This study explored the attitudes of smokers towards a range of quitting methods, and their considerations when judging their value. We conducted semi-structured interviews with 29 smokers and analysed data using thematic analysis. The results show that the perceived nature of an individual smoker?s addiction was central to judgments about the value of pharmacological cessation aids, as was personal experience with a method, and how well it was judged to align with an individual?s situation and personality. Unassisted quitting was often described as the best method. Negative views of pharmacological cessation aids were frequently expressed, particularly concerns about side effects from prescription medications. Smokers? views about the value of different methods were not independent: attitudes about cessation aids were shaped by positive attitudes towards unassisted quitting. Examining smokers? attitudes towards either assisted or unassisted quitting in isolation provides incomplete information on quitting preferences
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6591 - 6607
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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