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Publication Detail
Psychological Aspects of Tobacco Control
World-wide, tobacco use is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality. However, the health effects of smoking are reversible, making smoking cessation an important target for public health policy. ‘Tobacco control’ is a field of public health science which is dedicated to reducing tobacco use, and thereby reducing cigarette-related morbidity and mortality. In order for tobacco control to be effective, it is necessary for policy-makers to understand the personal and interpersonal factors which encourage people to smoke, factors which motivate smokers to quit (e.g. health, social pressure, cost), and the personal and population-level methods which are most effective at encouraging and prolonging quit attempts. Research has identified that social norms, mental health, and individual personality factors are most associated with smoking uptake and so interventions which reduce social smoking (e.g. smoking bans, plain packaging) would be most effective at preventing uptake. Conversely, the use of cigarettes is maintained by nicotine addiction and quit attempts are often motivated by health concerns, social pressure and the cost of tobacco products. As such, interventions which address physiological and behavioural addiction inherent in tobacco product use (such as nicotine replacement therapy combined with counselling), create social pressure to stop (such as mass media campaigns), or increase the cost of tobacco products, are most likely to be effective at encouraging quit attempts.
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