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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(1), 118; doi:10.3390/ijerph13010118

Self-Exempting Beliefs and Intention to Quit Smoking within a Socially Disadvantaged Australian Sample of Smokers

School of Medicine & Public Health, University of Newcastle, P.O. Box 833, Newcastle NSW 2300, Australia
School of Medicine & Public Health, University of Newcastle & Hunter Medical Research Institute, Newcastle 2305, Australia
National Centre for Epidemiology & Population Health, Australian National University, Canberra 0200, Australia
Clinical Research Design IT and Statistical Support Unit, University of Newcastle & Hunter Medical Research Institute, Newcastle 2305, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Coral Gartner and Britta Wigginton
Received: 9 November 2015 / Revised: 6 January 2016 / Accepted: 6 January 2016 / Published: 11 January 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tobacco Control 2015)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [265 KB, uploaded 11 January 2016]


An investigation of beliefs used to rationalise smoking will have important implications for the content of anti-smoking programs targeted at socioeconomically disadvantaged groups, who show the lowest rates of cessation in the population. This study aimed to assess the types of self-exempting beliefs reported by a sample of socioeconomically disadvantaged smokers, and identify associations between these beliefs and other smoking-related factors with quit intentions. A cross-sectional survey was conducted from March–December 2012 with smokers seeking welfare assistance in New South Wales (NSW), Australia (n = 354; response rate 79%). Responses to a 16-item self-exempting beliefs scale and intention to quit, smoker identity, and enjoyment of smoking were assessed. Most participants earned <AUD$400/week (70%), and had not completed secondary schooling (64%). All “jungle” beliefs (normalising the dangers of smoking due to ubiquity of risk) and selected “skeptic” beliefs were endorsed by 25%–47% of the sample, indicating these smokers may not fully understand the extensive risks associated with smoking. Smokers with limited quit intentions held significantly stronger self-exempting beliefs than those contemplating or preparing to quit (all p < 0.01). After adjusting for smoking-related variables only “skeptic” beliefs were significantly associated with intention to quit (p = 0.02). Some of these beliefs are incorrect and could be addressed in anti-smoking campaigns. View Full-Text
Keywords: self-exempting beliefs; smoking; disadvantage self-exempting beliefs; smoking; disadvantage
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Guillaumier, A.; Bonevski, B.; Paul, C.; D’Este, C.; Twyman, L.; Palazzi, K.; Oldmeadow, C. Self-Exempting Beliefs and Intention to Quit Smoking within a Socially Disadvantaged Australian Sample of Smokers. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 118.

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