Distribution of daily smokers by stage of change: Current Population Survey results

Mary Ellen Wewers, Frances A. Stillman, Anne M. Hartman, Donald R. Shopland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations


Background. Population-based national estimates of stage of change among daily smokers are unknown. This study described the proportion of U.S. daily smokers, 18 and older, by stage of change. Selected sociodemographic characteristics were delineated. Methods. Cross-sectional data were collected via telephone or face-to-face interview in daily smokers who responded to the Current Population Survey in 1992-1993 (n = 39,706), 1995-1996 (n = 34,865), or 1998-1999 (n = 30,153). Main outcomes included stage of change: (1) Precontemplation - not interested in quitting smoking in next 6 months; (2) Contemplation - interested in quitting smoking in next 6 months but not next 30 days; (3) Preparation - interested in quitting smoking in next 30 days and stopped at least 1 day during past year. Results. During 1992-1993, 59.1% of respondents were precontemplators, 33.2% contemplators, and 7.7% in preparation stage. This distribution was similar in subsequent surveys (1995-1996; 1998-1999). Gender differences were not apparent. Whites were more likely to be precontemplators. As education and income increased, the percentage in precontemplation decreased. Rural residents were more likely in precontemplation and less frequently in preparation. Conclusions. Among daily smokers, little movement in stage of change was apparent in the United States during the 1990s. Tobacco control efforts must receive high priority to address these static patterns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)710-720
Number of pages11
JournalPreventive Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Current Population Survey
  • Smoking
  • Stage of change
  • Tobacco

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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