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Open AccessArticle

Regretting Ever Starting to Smoke: Results from a 2014 National Survey

Georgia State University’s Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science, Atlanta, GA 30308, USA
Division of Health Management & Policy, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA 30303, USA
Department of Psychology, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Peter Congdon
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(4), 390;
Received: 4 January 2017 / Revised: 28 March 2017 / Accepted: 29 March 2017 / Published: 6 April 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
Background: The majority of smokers regret ever starting to smoke, yet the vast majority continue to smoke despite the fact that smoking kills nearly 50% of lifetime users. This study examined the relationships between regret and smoker characteristics, quit history, risk perceptions, experiential thinking, and beliefs and intentions at time of smoking initiation. Methods: Data from the 2014 Tobacco Products and Risk Perceptions Survey, a nationally representative survey of United States adults, were analyzed to provide the latest prevalence estimates of regret and potential predictors. Relationships among predictor variables and regret were analyzed using correlations, t-tests, and multinomial logistic regression. Results: The majority of smokers (71.5%) regretted starting to smoke. Being older and non-Hispanic white were significant predictors of regret. Smokers having a high intention to quit, having made quit attempts in the past year, worrying about getting lung cancer, believing smoking every day can be risky for your health, perceiving a risk of being diagnosed with lung cancer during one’s lifetime, and considering themselves addicted to cigarettes were significant predictors of regret for smoking initiation. Conclusions: This study provides updated prevalence data on regret using a national sample, and confirms that regret is associated with perceived risk. The findings from this study can be used to inform smoking intervention programs and support the inclusion of smoker regret in cost–benefit analyses of the economic impact of tobacco regulations. View Full-Text
Keywords: tobacco use disorder; addiction; nicotine; adults; guilt; regret tobacco use disorder; addiction; nicotine; adults; guilt; regret
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Nayak, P.; Pechacek, T.F.; Slovic, P.; Eriksen, M.P. Regretting Ever Starting to Smoke: Results from a 2014 National Survey. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 390.

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