What motivates adolescent smokers to make a quit attempt?


A sample of 120 adolescent smokers (80 males, 40 females), most of whom were referred by school personnel after being caught with cigarettes at school (n=113), reported motivations for making a quit attempt during a smoking cessation project. Most students (n=76) were randomly assigned to a four session cessation program that included discussion of a number of motivational topics, and the remaining students were assigned to a self-help control group that received a pamphlet recommending strategies for quitting. Reported motivations for quitting did not differ significantly across the two treatment conditions. Concern about future health (73%) was the most popular reason given for making a quit attempt, followed by concern about current health (65%). Concerns about physical appearance (59%), the cost of cigarettes (52%), and athletic performance (51%) were also listed as motivators by a majority of the participants. Future health was the most popular choice for the most important motivator to quit (35%). Females and participants with fewer best friends smoking were more likely to report that the prevalence of non-smoking teenagers, the relationship between smoking and weight, and physical appearance concerns were motivators to quit. African Americans were more likely than Whites to list current health concern as the most important motivator. © 2002 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication Title

Drug and Alcohol Dependence