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21-country study finds most smokers aren’t ready to quit

Surveys of 57,066 from 21 low- and middle-income countries revealed that, from 2009-2013, three out of four smokers in each country weren’t even thinking about quitting. And few of those who had thought about it were taking action to quit, according to a analysis of the data.

Analyzing data from the , CDC researchers categorized smokers by stages of cessation and highlighted interventions that could be tailored to each stage. Smokers were placed into three categories:

  • – not yet acknowledging that there is a behavior needing to be change
  • Contemplation – acknowledging a problem, but not ready or sure how to change
  • Preparation – getting ready to change

Tobacco smoking prevalence among the 21 countries ranged from nearly 4 percent in Nigeria to 39.1 percent in Russia. Across all of the assessed countries, most smokers – nearly 75 percent – were in the pre-contemplation stage.

The in the contemplation stage was lower than that of smokers in the pre-contemplation stage. Percentages ranged from 7.1 percent in Indonesia to 31.2 percent in Qatar. The preparation stage produced the lowest in all countries at an average of nearly 7 percent.

By using the stages-of-change model described, CDC researchers suggest that each of the assessed countries can design and implement effective smoking suitable to its cultural, social, and economic situations to help smokers advance successfully through the stages of cessation.

“Strategies may also include public education activities and media campaigns to motivate smokers at [the pre-contemplation] stage to think of quitting,” the researchers suggest.

The study has been published in Preventing Chronic Disease.