Smoking: Most Want to Quit; Many Feel Hooked
More than 8 in 10 U.S. Adults Call Smoking 'Very Harmful'
WebMD News Archive
Aug. 15, 2005 -- Most U.S. adults call smoking "very harmful" and
more than three out of four smokers want to kick the smoking habit, according
to a new Gallup poll.
The poll was done by telephone in July -- before the death of ABC news
anchor Peter Jennings. About a thousand U.S. adults participated.
- A quarter of those polled had smoked in the previous week.
- 22% were ex-smokers and 52% had never smoked.
- 81% called smoking "very harmful."
- More than half (53%) called secondhand smoke "very harmful."
Here are data on the 216 participants who are smokers:
- 76% stated that they wanted to quit smoking.
- 74% stated that they considered themselves addicted to cigarettes.
- More than half (58%) noted smoking less than a pack of cigarettes
- Heavy smokers were more likely to state that they were addicted to
- Heavy smokers weren't more likely to express a desire to quit smoking.
Smoking Affected Some Views
According to Gallup, 86% of nonsmokers called smoking "very
harmful." Fewer smokers (65%) agreed.
Differing views also showed up in a 2001 Gallup poll. In that poll, 77% of
nonsmokers agreed that smoking is a major cause of lung cancer, compared to 57%
"As a group, smokers clearly recognize the risks inherent in their
habit, but are perhaps less willing to admit it," states the latest Gallup
Big Changes Over Time
Fewer Americans smoke now than in the 1940s and 1950s.
In a 1944 Gallup poll, more than four in 10 participants (41%) said that
they had smoked any cigarettes in the past week. That figure hit an all-time
high in 1954, when 45% reported cigarette smoking in the previous week.
Today's smokers are also more likely to report smoking less than a pack of
cigarettes per day, compared to those in the late 1970s and early 1980s, notes
CDC's Quit-Smoking Advice
As the poll showed, most smokers want to quit. Here are 14 tips from the
- Set a quit date.
- Get rid of all cigarettes and ashtrays at home, work, and in your car.
- Don't let people smoke in your home.
- Review your past attempts to quit. Think about what worked and what
- Once you quit, don't smoke at all.
- Get support and encouragement. Family, friends, co-workers, health
professionals, support groups, and counselors could help.
- When the urge to smoke strikes, distract yourself. Go for a walk or talk to
- Do something to reduce stress.
- Plan to do something enjoyable every day.
- Drink a lot of water and other beverages.
- Know that medications may help you quit smoking and cut the urge to
- Be prepared for tough situations. Those may include drinking alcohol, being
around smokers, bad moods or depression, and weight gain.
- Talk to your doctor or health care provider if you run into trouble.
- Know that it may take several tries to stop smoking for good, but it's