Open Access Research article

Prevalence and factors associated with difficulty and intention to quit smoking in Switzerland

Pedro Marques-Vidal12*, João Melich-Cerveira3, Fred Paccaud1, Gérard Waeber4, Peter Vollenweider4 and Jacques Cornuz5

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (IUMSP), Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois and University of Lausanne, Bugnon 17, 1005 Lausanne, Switzerland

2 Clinical Trials Unit, University Hospital (CHUV), Lausanne, Switzerland

3 Medical Faculty of the University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal

4 Department of Medicine, University Hospital (CHUV), Lausanne, Switzerland

5 Department of Ambulatory Care and Community Medicine, University of Lausanne, Bugnon 44, 1011 Lausanne, Switzerland

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BMC Public Health 2011, 11:227  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-227

Published: 13 April 2011



recent data indicate a slight decrease in the prevalence of smoking in Switzerland, but little is known regarding the intention and difficulty to quit smoking among current smokers. Hence, we aimed to quantify the difficulty and intention to quit smoking among current smokers in Switzerland.


cross-sectional study including 607 female and 658 male smokers. Difficulty, intention and motivation to quit smoking were assessed by questionnaire.


90% of women and 85% of men reported being "very difficult" or "difficult" to quit smoking. Almost three quarters of smokers (73% of women and 71% of men) intended to quit; however, less than 20% of them were in the preparation stage and 40% were in the precontemplation stage. On multivariate analysis, difficulty to quit was lower among men (Odds ratio and 95% [confidence interval]: 0.51 [0.35-0.74]) and increased with nicotine dependence and number of previous quitting attempts (OR = 3.14 [1.75 - 5.63] for 6+ attempts compared to none). Intention to quit decreased with increasing age (OR = 0.48 [0.30-0.75] for ≥65 years compared to < 45 years) and increased with nicotine dependence, the number of previous quitting attempts (OR = 4.35 [2.76 - 6.83] for 6+ attempts compared to none) and among non-cigarette smokers (OR = 0.51 [0.28 - 0.92]). Motivation to quit was inversely associated with nicotine dependence and positively associated with the number of previous quitting attempts and personal history of lung disease.


over two thirds of Swiss smokers want to quit. However, only a small fraction wishes to do so in the short term. Nicotine dependence, previous attempts to quit or previous history of lung disease are independently associated with difficulty and intention to quit.