The Effects of Beliefs About the Health Consequences of Cigarette Smoking on Smoking Onset


Jon A. Krosnick; e-mail:


Nearly all Americans now recognize that smoking causes lung cancer and other serious diseases; however, cigarette smoking has not yet been eradicated in this country. This might be taken as evidence that beliefs about the health risks of smoking do not influence smoking onset or quitting. In this paper, we report new evidence that perceiving smoking to entail greater health risks reduces the likelihood that a young person will begin to smoke. This evidence suggests that public health campaigns should continue to focus on this theme to bolster resistance to smoking onset among young people.