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Population versus Clinical Perspectives on Smoking Behaviour

  • Stephen L. Brown (a1) and Neville Owen (a1)


Effective mass-reach smoking-cessation interventions are required in order to accelerate the decline in the prevalence of smoking in Australia and other industrialised countries. Such large-scale interventions still rely, to a major extent, on theoretical principles derived from research with clinical or other opportunistic samples. Schachter (1982) argues that this type of research provides information which is unrepresentative of smokers in the general population. We compared a population-probability sample with a sample of smokers enrolling in a smoking-cessation program offered by a community health centre. The health centre sample was composed of predominantly female, older smokers who had higher smoking rates, had made more previous attempts to stop smoking, and tended to attribute their last relapse to irritability. We discuss some potential implications for research relevant to population-wide smoking control strategies.


Corresponding author

Department of Community Medicine, The University of Adelaide, PO Box 498, Adelaide, South Australia 5001


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