Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Reasons for not using smoking cessation aids

Beatrice Gross1*, Leonie Brose2, Anja Schumann3, Sabina Ulbricht1, Christian Meyer1, Henry Völzke4, Hans-Jürgen Rumpf5 and Ulrich John1

Author Affiliations

1 Institute for Epidemiology and Social Medicine, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-University Greifswald, Germany

2 Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK

3 Coordination Center for Clinical Trials, University Leipzig, Germany

4 Institute of Community Medicine, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-University Greifswald, Germany

5 Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Research Group S:TEP (Substance Abuse: Treatment, Epidemiology and Prevention), University of Lübeck, Germany

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BMC Public Health 2008, 8:129  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-8-129

Published: 22 April 2008



Few smokers use effective smoking cessation aids (SCA) when trying to stop smoking. Little is known why available SCA are used insufficiently. We therefore investigated the reasons for not using SCA and examined related demographic, smoking behaviour, and motivational variables.


Data were collected in two population-based studies testing smoking cessation interventions in north-eastern Germany. A total of 636 current smokers who had never used SCA and had attempted to quit or reduce smoking within the last 12 months were given a questionnaire to assess reasons for non-use. The questionnaire comprised two subscales: "Social and environmental barriers" and "SCA unnecessary."


The most endorsed reasons for non-use of SCA were the belief to be able to quit on one's own (55.2%), the belief that help is not necessary (40.1%), and the belief that smoking does not constitute a big problem in one's life (36.5%). One quarter of all smokers reported that smoking cessation aids are not helpful in quitting and that the aids cost too much. Smokers intending to quit agreed stronger to both subscales and smokers with lower education agreed stronger to the subscale "Social and environmental barriers".


Main reasons for non-use of SCA are being overly self-confident and the perception that SCA are not helpful. Future interventions to increase the use of SCA should address these reasons in all smokers.