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Study: Cigarette Smokers Aren’t Listening To Health Warnings


Are you really listening to all the health warnings on cigarette smoking? According to a recent study conducted by the National Health Service (NHS) in England, you aren’t.

The NHS recruited the consulting organization YouGov to conduct a study in conjunction with the launch of NHS’s new campaign to help smokers quit in 2012. The study was a short but informative one. 1,000 adult smokers where observed from December 8th, to December 12th, 2011, and it was determined that 53 percent of smokers underestimate how many people die each year from cigarettes.

The numbers are as high as 80,000 in England, and much higher for Americans with 443,00 smoke related deaths in 2011, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Additional results of the study were as follows:

  • 58 percent underestimate how many long term smokers die early due to cigarette smoking
  • 35 percent underestimate how many cancer deaths there were due to cigarette smoking
  • 8 percent of those who smoke still don’t truly believe that cigarette smoking can be a cause of serious health problems, leading up to death.
  • The smokers also under-calculated the financial tallies of their smoking habits. Not realizing the annual costs associated with the purchasing of a box of cigarettes.

The study also honed in on the reasons why people choose not to quit smoking. A third of the participants admitted being to stressed at the moment to give up smoking, an additional third said it was a lack of willpower that made them continue smoking, and the remaining participants attempted to quit but weren’t successful. Cigarette Smokers in the U.S. are also seemingly non-responsive to the many anti-smoking initiatives offered.

A 2005 study that was published in the The Journal of Adolescent Health suggested that multimillion dollar anti smoking programs were not the main component in getting people to quit smoking, it was in fact cigarette taxation.

“It has been shown over and over that kids are especially sensitive to tax increases,” Dr. Sarah Wiehe explains, an assistant professor at the Indiana University School of Medicine.

It appears that new ideas need to be developed to properly reach the the cigarette smoker, and better communication is needed between health professionals and the smoker. But some progress has been achieved according to Dr. Wiehe.

“Schools could focus more on media literacy showing how the tobacco industry targets prospective clients, and how to be more aware of their propaganda,” she said.

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