The association between the awareness of the effects of smoking/secondhand smoke and the desire to quit
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National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece
University of Waterloo, Canada
Publish date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A710
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The harmful effects of smoking are well documented. Moreover, public knowledge and beliefs about the health risks of smoking and secondhand smoke exposure have increased substantially over the past several decades.

The aim of this study is to examine the association between the awareness of the health risks of smoking and secondhand smoke exposure with the desire to quit smoking. The Wave 1 (2016) ITC 6 European Country (6E) Survey within the framework of EUREST-PLUS Project covered both urban and rural areas of the country's 13 geographical regions. The survey sample consisted of 1,000 individuals smokers aged 18 and older in Greece, one of the six ITC 6E countries.

The majority of Greek smokers agreed that smoking causes lung cancer (95.4%), heart diseases (94.4%), throat cancer (87.9%), bronchitis (87.7%) and mouth cancer (84.8%), however, 51.7% smokers disagreed that smoking could cause blindness, tuberculosis (37.8%), impotence (33.8%), stroke (24%) and heart attacks to non-smokers (27.3%). Chi-square and spearman correlation coefficient were fitted to investigate the association between the awareness of the effects of smoking and the desire to quit. The percentages of the awareness regarding blindness and stroke were less among smokers who reported moderate difficulty to completely quit (p<0.05). Moreover, smokers reported slight difficulty to successfully quit, reported less awareness that smoking could cause bronchitis and tuberculosis (p<0.01). The levels of the awareness approximately to all health risks were higher among smokers reported that they want to quit “a lot” (p<0.01).

Our findings highlighted the lack of knowledge regarding the harmful effects of smoking, mostly among those less motivated to quit. Hence, more effort will be needed by health policy-makers and public campaigns in order to inform smokers about the smoking risks and promote tobacco treatment delivery.