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I smoke, but I'm not a smoker
Date:2/11/2014

consists of young adults who primarily smoke (and drink) socially and who believe they are not addicted to nicotine. And, for the first time, NIS includes a second group of adults over the age of 45 who were formerly regular smokers and had most likely failed repeated attempts to completely quit. These people, said Al-Delaimy, might seek to avoid the label of "smoker."

"The younger NIS are typically college students who smoke as a means of social facilitation and who believe they can quit at any time," he said. "Older NIS are likely the result of stigmatization produced by comprehensive tobacco control programs. They've become marginalized parts of society who see little advantage in identifying themselves as smokers or providing accurate reports of their smoking behavior."

Often, the study authors noted, NIS belong to specific ethnic minority groups, notably black and Asian.

Al-Delaimy said the findings that NIS exist in numbers much greater than previous estimates suggests future surveys should be re-designed to better account for how smokers perceive themselves so that subsequent interventions, media campaigns and public health policies can be refined to more effectively reach smokers who don't think they're smokers.

"There is a risk for such smokers to continue to smoke and be adversely impacted by the tobacco they smoke, yet they do not seek any assistance nor do they plan to quit because they falsely believe they are not smokers," Al-Delaimy said. "This more complex issue of identity and self-perception of smokers in today's social environment will require further studies and understanding."


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Contact: Scott LaFee
slafee@ucsd.edu
619-543-6163
University of California - San Diego
Source:Eurekalert

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