Reasons to quit and barriers to quitting smoking in US young adults

Andrea C. Villanti, Michelle T Bover Manderski, Daniel A. Gundersen, Michael B. Steinberg, Cristine D. Delnevo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Background.: Young adulthood provides an enormous opportunity to alter trajectories of smoking behaviour for a large public health impact. Objective.: The purpose of this study was to examine correlates of perceived barriers to quitting smoking and reasons to quit in a sample of young adult current and former smokers. Methods.: This study used data from the 2011 National Young Adult Health Survey, a random-digit-dial cellphone survey. Participants were US young adult current smokers aged 18-34 (n = 699) and young adults who were either current smokers who had made a quit attempt in the past-year (n = 402) or former smokers (n = 289). Correlates of barriers to quitting smoking and reasons for quitting smoking were assessed using bivariate and multivariable analyses. Results.: More than half of current smokers identified 'loss of a way to handle stress' (59%) and 'cravings or withdrawal' (52%) as barriers to quitting. Female gender, daily smoking and intention to quit remained significantly associated with endorsing 'loss of a way to handle stress' as a barrier to quitting in multivariable analyses. The two most popular reasons for quitting smoking were physical fitness (64%) and the cost of tobacco (64%). Conclusion.: These findings highlight barriers to cessation and the reasons that young smokers give for quitting. This information may be helpful to physicians as they counsel their young adult patients to quit smoking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbercmv103
Pages (from-to)133-139
Number of pages7
JournalFamily Practice
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • Cross-sectional studies
  • Preventive medicine
  • Smoking
  • Smoking cessation
  • Tobacco use
  • Young adult

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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