Secondary preventive measures to reduce cigarette smoking can be effective only if the motivation to change in the target population is taken into account. A useful model to match interventions to the readiness to change differentiates five stages: precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. In the USA, general population studies showed that 40% of smokers were in the precontemplation and contemplation stage, respectively, and 20% were in the preparation stage. In Germany, no data according to the distribution of stages among smokers are available; however, such data are necessary to plan population-based interventions. Data with respect to nicotine use, nicotine dependence, and the stages of change were assessed in a representative sample of 4075 respondents in Luebeck, a northern German city, and 46 adjoining communities in a face-to-face interview. The response rate was 70.2%. In this sample, 37.3% were cigarette smokers. Of those smokers with at least one attempt to reduce or quit smoking in the past, 76.4% were in the precontemplation, 17% in the contemplation, and 6.6% in the preparation stage. Including individuals without an attempt to reduce or quit smoking, 95.3% can be allocated to the precontemplation or contemplation stage. Nicotine-dependent smokers were in higher stages compared to smokers without dependence. Severity of dependence was not related to the stages of change. Data demonstrate that common smoking cessation programmes that require the individuals' readiness to change are inappropriate for 95% of the population. Stage-matched interventions are introduced and discussed in the paper. Compared to data from the USA smokers in Germany are more likely to be in early stages of change. Policy-based public health measures are necessary to change these findings.
|Translated title of the contribution
|Stages of Change of Smokers in the General Population
|Number of pages
|Published - 10.1998
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)