Smoking, information sources, and risk perceptions – new results on Swedish data

  • Petter Lundborg Petter Lundborg

Using data on 9,272 Swedish adolescents aged 15-18, this study examines (1) perceptions of the addictiveness and mortality risk of smoking, (2) the effects of these perceptions on smoking behaviour, and (3) the role of smoking risk information sources in affecting risk perceptions and smoking behaviour. The average respondentbelieved that 46 out 100 smokers would die from diseases caused by their smoking, suggesting a smoking mortality risk of 0.46. There were significant differences, however, by age groups, gender, and by smoking status. As to addictiveness perceptions, the average respondent believed that 68 out of 100 smokers trying to quitwould not succeed. Both a higher perceived addictiveness and a higher perceived mortality risk were found to be significantly and negatively related to smoking participation, while smoking intensity was unaffected. Regarding smoking information sources, the results showed substantial variation in the weight that the teenagers attached to the various information sources considered.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.

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