Some argue that perceived addiction to smoking (PAS) might undermine motivation to stop. We examined the association of PAS with motivation to stop in a population sample and assessed its association with past and future quit attempts and future quit success.
12,700 smokers in England were surveyed between September 2009–March 2012 as part of the Smoking Toolkit Study. 2796 smokers were followed up after 6 months. PAS was assessed at baseline by a single self-report item. The outcome variables were ratings of motivation to stop and reports of past-year quit attempts at baseline, and quit attempts in the past 6 months and smoking status at follow-up. Baseline covariates were sex, age, social grade and daily cigarette consumption.
In adjusted analyses, PAS was positively associated with at least some degree of motivation to stop versus no motivation (ORs = 1.97–2.96, all p's < 0.001). PAS was also positively associated with past-year quit attempts (OR = 1.43, 95% CI = 1.32–1.55, p < 0.001), but not with future quit attempts (OR = 1.17, 95% CI = 0.99–1.39, p = 0.064) or quit success (OR = 1.04, 95% CI = 0.73–1.47, p = 0.83).
In smokers in England, perceived addiction to smoking is positively associated with motivation to stop and having recently made a quit attempt but is not clearly associated with future quit attempts or success. These findings provide no grounds for believing that increasing smokers' perceived addiction through promotion of stop-smoking support has undermined motivation to stop.