Accuracy and optimism in smokers' beliefs about quitting
Data collected in two nationwide surveys (N = 361 and N = 788) provide insight into the extent to which smokers recognize the ease of addiction and the difficulty of quitting. Smokers generally acknowledge that addiction occurs quickly and that smokers have considerable difficulty quitting. Youth smokers, however, generally believe that they would have less difficulty than other smokers and that they are less addicted than the average smoker. Adult smokers tend to say they are not different from other smokers in addiction or ability to quit. Nevertheless, both youth and adult smokers who want to quit greatly overestimate the likelihood that they will succeed in the coming year. Few smokers think about how long they will smoke when they first begin, and the reluctance to believe that they could have serious difficulty quitting may help in the progression from experimental to established smoker.