Exposing smokers to social disapproval is the best method to encourage them to quit, according to researchers at Canterbury Christ Church University.A series of experiments revealed that smokers were most willing to consider quitting if they accepted non-smokers negative attitudes towards the habit.
The experiments tested four theories of fostering the intention to quit: fear (via graphic warnings), information processing (i.e. providing facts), hypocrisy-induced dissonance (i.e. raising people’s awareness that they do not practice what they preach) and self-efficacy (i.e. the belief in one’s own capabilities in achieving goal).
Across all of the experiments, smokers formed the greatest intentions to quit when they read a summary of negative non-smoker attitudes toward smoking:
“This relationship between smokers and non-smokers is an important area that, so far, has been neglected by researchers, governments and health institutions as a source of encouragement for smokers to form intentions to quit.”
The second best way to encourage intentions to quit smoking resulted from smokers reflecting on the hypocrisy of knowing that smoking may cause ill-health and continuing to smoke.
The experiments found that provoking fear — such as using graphic images on packs of cigarettes— had no effect on smokers intentions to quit but could promote the formation of negative attitudes in non-smokers.
[via Medical Xpress]
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