ABSTRACT Objectives: The primary purpose of this study was to describe individuals' knowledge and beliefs about genetics and smoking. Secondary purposes were to describe (a) differences in knowledge and beliefs based on smoking status, gender, and education and (b) relationships among perceived genetic predisposition for smoking, background characteristics, and knowledge and beliefs about genetics and smoking. Because genetics influences smoking, genetic information will likely be used to individualize future cessation treatment.
Design: Questionnaire data were collected about knowledge and beliefs about genetics and smoking, smoking history, and demographics from visitors and staff at a nursing care facility. Data were analyzed with bivariate statistics and logistic regression.
Sample: Participants (N=92), ages 19–82, were classified by smoking status.
Results: Participants had little knowledge about genetics and smoking or mechanisms of heredity. Most did not believe that genetics caused smoking or influenced cessation. Predictors of perceived genetic predisposition for smoking were smoking status (current/former smoker), education (<baccalaureate degree), and a belief that genetically predisposed smokers are more likely to relapse.
Conclusions: Smokers will likely need education to understand genetically informed cessation treatment. Research is needed to determine how knowledge and beliefs about genetics and smoking influence perceived genetic predisposition for smoking and smoking behaviors.