Social Costs of Smoking: Effects of Tobacco Smoke on Hostile Behavior1


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    The authors are indebted to Paul Driscoll, Robert Harman, Carol Langdon, and Elizabeth McDonough for their assistance in conducting this investigation.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Dolf Zillmann, Institute for Communication Research, 419 North Indiana Avenue, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405, or Robert A. Baron, Department of Psychological Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907.


Male and female undergraduates interacted with a same-sex experimenter and a same-sex assistant of the experimenter. Either the experimenter or the assistant smoked. Subjects were provoked or not provoked by the experimenter and then smoked. Subjects were provoked or not provided by the experimenter and then provided with an opportunity to treat him or her in a hostile manner. Additionally, subjects were classified as smokers or nonsmokers and as supporting or opposing smoking in public places. Tobacco smoke was found to facilitate hostile behavior whether or not subjects were independently annoyed and whether or not it originated from the annoyer or a bystander. No sex differences were observed in this effect. Also, no appreciable difference was observed in the hostile behavior of smokers and nonsmokers. Persons opposed to public smoking reacted more strongly to the provocation than persons supportive of public smoking, but this effect was independent of the presence or absence of smoke.