The 2018 State of Smoking Survey, is a study commissioned by the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, which aims to analyze why people smoke and what motivates them to quit. The study looks at smoking cessation into further detail, with the aim of highlighting any impediments to quitting, smokers’ most common cessation methods, the struggles they face and what leads them to success.
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This global research also aims to identify commonalities and differences amongst smokers worldwide, in order to help develop more effective harm reduction and smoking cessation approaches, that are relevant across different cultures and economic statuses.
The data were compiled by international research organization Kantar by conducting interviews with 17,421 smokers, ex-smokers and non-smokers in Brazil, France, Greece, India, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, Malawi, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, United Kingdom and United States.
The Press Release listed the primary findings as follows:
- “Smoking isn’t an isolated habit. Smokers consider it deeply integrated with their basic pleasures of life, such as eating, drinking, and socializing. Currently implemented cessation methods fail to take these into account, resulting in continued smoking.
- Smokers know that smoking is harmful to their health, and many consider themselves in poorer health than non-smokers, yet they do not actively engage with their healthcare providers or discuss effective cessation or reduced-harm solutions with them. The healthcare system needs to better engage with smokers, and medical providers need more effective tools to help smokers quit.
- There is confusion among smokers about the relative harms of smoking and less harmful alternatives. While people “smoke for the nicotine, but die from the tar,” there is still considerable misperception about the risks of nicotine. This impacts their motivation to quit or try reduced risk alternative products.”
The importance of understanding individual differences
The President of the FSFW, renowned anti-smoking expert Dr. Derek Yach pointed out that this study indicates that understanding individual experiences is key. “The data demonstrates that by better understanding the unique experiences and struggles of the individual smoker, we can better support each individual’s quit journey,” he said.
“In this age of personalized medicine, it is only logical that we should stop treating the world’s smokers as one homogeneous group and start developing and embracing a wide range of solutions that allow individual smokers to select the method that works best for his or her situation and, more importantly, reduce the harm, disease, and death that is caused by smoking.”
The Foundation for a Smoke-Free World supports STOP
Earlier this month, Yach, released a statement in support of the newly launched STOP initiative, an agency that aims to monitor the tobacco industry, and expose any irregular activities. Derek Yach pointed out that the foundation applauds the effort to monitor the activities of PMI and other Big Tobacco companies, and joins STOP in condemning any efforts by Big Tobacco to keep the public hooked on cigarettes.