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NAQC Newsroom: Research

Deniers and Admitters: Examining Smoker Identities in a Changing Tobacco Landscape.

Thursday, May 12, 2016  
Posted by: Natalia Gromov
John H. Kingsbury, Michael J. Parks, Michael S. Amato, Raymond G. Boyle,
Deniers and Admitters: Examining Smoker Identities in a Changing Tobacco Landscape.
Nicotine Tob Res (2016)doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntw110First published online: April 16, 2016
Smoking prevalence has declined considerably over the past 30 years. This decline has coincided with a growing stigma against smokers and a trend toward nondaily or occasional smoking. Some individuals now deny being a smoker despite current cigarette use—i.e., “deniers”; conversely, occasional smokers who admit to being a smoker are defined as “admitters.” Although the “denier” phenomenon has been the focus of recent research, no studies have examined smoker identity in the context of emerging tobacco products and ongoing, statewide tobacco control programs. Recent data from the 2014 Minnesota Adult Tobacco Survey (MATS) provided an opportunity to address these research gaps. Using MATS, participants were 242 adults who reported smoking 100 cigarettes lifetime, currently smoking “some days,” and past 30-day smoking. Questions also assessed smoker identity, emerging product use and perceptions, and changes in smoking behavior in response to a recent statewide tobacco tax increase.
Regression models revealed no difference in e-cigarette or hookah use between deniers and admitters, but deniers were more likely to perceive that hookah use was less harmful than smoking cigarettes. In response to the tax increase, we found that admitters were more likely than deniers to report thinking about quitting, reducing cigarette amount, and making a quit attempt. Findings suggest that deniers perceive lower harm from using tobacco products. Tax increases may be less effective at motivating quit attempts in deniers compared to admitters, implying that cessation programs tailored to specific smoking identities could usefully complement tax increases.

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