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Open AccessArticle

Why Don’t Smokers Want Help to Quit? A Qualitative Study of Smokers’ Attitudes towards Assisted vs. Unassisted Quitting

University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research, Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital Site, Herston, 4029 Queensland, Australia
University of Queensland, School of Public Health, Corner of Wyndham Street and Herston Road, Herston, 4006 Queensland, Australia
University of Queensland Centre for Youth Substance Abuse, Mental Health Centre, Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, Herston, 4029 Queensland, Australia
School of Psychological Sciences, Monash University Clinical and Imaging Neuroscience, 770 Blackburn Road, Monash University, Clayton, 3800 Victoria, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: William Toscano
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(6), 6591-6607;
Received: 15 April 2015 / Revised: 29 May 2015 / Accepted: 5 June 2015 / Published: 10 June 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tobacco Control 2015)
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: smoking; smoking cessation; medicalization; attitude; qualitative research smoking; smoking cessation; medicalization; attitude; qualitative research
MDPI and ACS Style

Morphett, K.; Partridge, B.; Gartner, C.; Carter, A.; Hall, W. Why Don’t Smokers Want Help to Quit? A Qualitative Study of Smokers’ Attitudes towards Assisted vs. Unassisted Quitting. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 6591-6607.

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