The idea of quitting doesn’t cross the minds of most smokers, and the few who do think about it don’t actively try to quit.
That’s the conclusion of a 21-country study released Sept. 17 and done by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, whose authors analyzed data on more than 57,000 smokers compiled between 2009 and 2013.
The prevalence of smoking among the countries ranged from 4 percent in Nigeria to 39 percent in Russia. The United States was not included in the study.
The study’s participants were then divided into three groups:
- Pre-contemplation: these smokers did not feel the need to change their behavior
- Contemplation: these people knew they should stop smoking but weren’t ready to quit
- Preparation: these smokers were preparing to quit
The study revealed roughly three out of four smokers (nearly 75 percent) were in the “pre-contemplation” phase and hadn’t even considered kicking the habit.
The percentage of smokers in the “contemplation” stage ranged from 7 percent in Indonesia to 31 percent in Qatar. In all countries, the lowest percentage of smokers fell into the “preparation” category, at an average of nearly 7 percent.
The study’s authors said that their classification system for identifying smokers’ readiness and willingness to quit could help countries design more effective smoking cessation programs.
“Strategies may also include public education activities and media campaigns to motivate smokers at [the pre-contemplation] stage to think of quitting,” the researchers wrote.
The American Cancer Society provides a guide on how to quit smoking.