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Open Access Research article

Patterns of motivations and ways of quitting smoking among Polish smokers: A questionnaire study

Alicja Sieminska1*, Krzysztof Buczkowski2, Ewa Jassem1, Katarzyna Lewandowska1, Romana Ucinska3 and Marta Chelminska1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pneumonology and Allergology, Medical University of Gdansk, ul. Debinki 7, 80-952 Gdansk, Poland

2 Department of Family Medicine, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Collegium Medicum in Bydgoszcz, ul. M. Sklodowskiej-Curie 9, 85-094 Bydgoszcz, Poland

3 Department of Pneumonology and Tuberculosis of the Pomeranian Center of Infectious Diseases and Tuberculosis in Gdansk, ul. Smoluchowskiego 18, 80-214, Gdansk, Poland

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BMC Public Health 2008, 8:274  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-8-274

Published: 4 August 2008

Abstract

Background

The majority of Polish smokers declare their will to quit smoking and many of them attempt to quit. Although morbidity and mortality from tobacco-related diseases are among the highest in the world, there is a lack of comprehensive cessation support for smokers. We aimed to investigate how Poles, including the medically ill, cope with quitting cigarettes and what their motivations to quit are.

Methods

Convenience sampling was used for the purpose of the study. Individuals attending several health care units were screened for a history of quit attempts. Ex-smokers were defined as smoking previously at least one cigarette/day but who have no longer been smoking for at least one month. Attempts at quitting were defined as abstaining from cigarettes for at least one day. Data on socio-demographics, tobacco use, quitting behaviors and reasons to quit from 618 subjects (385 ex- and 233 current smokers) who fulfilled these criteria were collected with the use of a questionnaire. For the comparison of proportions, a chi-square test was used.

Results

In the entire study population, 77% of smokers attempted to quit smoking on their own and a similar proportion of smokers (76%) used the cold turkey method when quitting. Current smokers were more likely than former smokers to use some form of aid (p = 0.0001), mainly nicotine replacement therapy (68%). The most important reasons for quitting smoking were: general health concern (57%), personal health problems (32%) and social reasons (32%). However, 41% of smokers prompted to quitting by personal health problems related to tobacco smoking did not see the link between the two. A small proportion of ex-smokers (3%) abstaining from cigarettes for longer than a year were not confident about their self-efficacy to sustain abstinence further.

Conclusion

The majority of Polish smokers, including patients with tobacco-related diseases, attempt to quit without smoking cessation assistance, thus there is a need for a broader professional help for them. There is also a lack of general information on hazards related to tobacco and further anti-tobacco campaigns in media are needed. Finally, former smokers should be given more attention and periodic inquiries regarding the smoking habit are worthwhile.