This article has been reviewed according to Science X's editorial process and policies. Editors have highlighted the following attributes while ensuring the content's credibility:


trusted source


Anti-smoking campaigns should target misconceptions, study shows

cigarette ashtray
Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

Tobacco control initiatives should consider focusing on dispelling false beliefs, such as smoking elevates moods, reduces stress and provides comfort, a new study has found.

The study by researchers from Charles Darwin University (CDU), the National University of Modern Languages (NUML) in Pakistan and Griffith University was published recently in the Journal of Social Marketing.

It focused on identifying which social and better determine intentions to quit smoking, with the aim of informing .

CDU Senior Lecturer in Business and lead author Dr. Muhammad Abid Saleem said results showed several key themes about participants' attitudes to smoking tobacco and showed how prevention efforts could be improved.

"Smokers should be encouraged to correct their misconception that smoking elates moods, reduces stress and provides comfort," Dr. Saleem said.

"Social marketing campaigns targeting should highlight the adverse health effects of tobacco consumption and emphasize that misconceptions related to the positive psychological effects of smoking, in reality, hold no value."

The study was conducted in Pakistan, where 19.1% of adults are active smokers and where include smoke-free places, bans on , promotions and sponsorships, text and picture warning labels on cigarette packs and increases in tobacco taxation.

There were 1,500 questionnaires distributed across eight public sector universities in the South Punjab province. There were 371 usable responses received, 89.49% from men and 10.51% from women, primarily aged 18 to 24.

Barriers to stopping smoking, including loss of company of friends and lack of concentration on work, were mentioned 37 times by participants.

Pushes to stop smoking, including family pressure, friends' advice and clergy pressure were mentioned 68 times.

Psychological satisfaction from smoking, including reducing depression, aggression and relaxing the mind were mentioned 25 times by participants.

"To break through the psychological defense of rationalization and denial, control initiatives may need to adopt evidence-based fear appeals supported by real-life endorsements and high-credibility sources," Dr. Saleem said.

"Such campaigns will likely evoke motivational conflict and defuse earlier beliefs about the psychological benefits of smoking. Smoking as a vehicle to enhance socializing opportunities is another delusion that should be targeted through and the involvement of social institutions such as family."

More information: Muhammad Abid Saleem et al, Addiction or social need: towards a model to predict smoking cessation intentions, Journal of Social Marketing (2023). DOI: 10.1108/JSOCM-04-2022-0079

Citation: Anti-smoking campaigns should target misconceptions, study shows (2023, March 30) retrieved 3 October 2023 from
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Explore further

Pictorial warning labels on hookahs reduce smoking satisfaction and exposure to smoking-related toxicants


Feedback to editors