Effect of smoking characteristics on cognitive dissonance in current and former smokers

Michael T. Halpern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


The effect of smoking characteristics on the development of cognitive dissonance in current and former smokers is examined. Smoking characteristics (number of cigarettes per day, number of years smoked, and years since quitting) and health beliefs were obtained from over 9,000 respondents to the 1986 Adult Use of Tobacco Survey. Overall, current smokers exhibited more cognitive dissonance involving smoking-related beliefs than did former smokers. Logistic regression analysis indicated that heavier current smokers (those smoking ≥20 cigarettes per day) were more likely to exhibit cognitive dissonance over smoking-related health beliefs than were lighter smokers. In contrast, number of cigarettes consumed per day had only minor effects on former smokers' beliefs; former smokers who had smoked for more years (≥17), or who had quite recently (within the last 8 years), were more likely to showed greater dissonance than former smokers without these characteristics. The factors underlying these results and their implications for smoking cessation programs are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-217
Number of pages9
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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