Quitting smoking: The importance of non-smoker identity in predicting smoking behaviour and responses to a smoking ban

Eline Meijer*, Winifred A. Gebhardt, Arie Dijkstra, Marc C. Willemsen, Colette Van Laar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

33 Citations (Web of Science)


Objective: We examined how smoker' and non-smoker' self- and group-identities and socio-economic status (SES) may predict smoking behaviour and responses to antismoking measures (i.e. the Dutch smoking ban in hospitality venues). We validated a measure of responses to the smoking ban.Design: Longitudinal online survey study with one-year follow-up (N=623 at T1 in 2011; N=188 at T2 in 2012) among daily smokers.Main outcome measures: Intention to quit, quit attempts and rejecting', victimizing', socially conscious smoking' and active quitting' responses to the smoking ban.Results: Non-smoker identities are more important than smoker identities in predicting intention to quit, quit attempts and responses to the smoking ban, even when controlling for other important predictors such as nicotine dependence. Smokers with stronger non-smoker identities had stronger intentions to quit, were more likely to attempt to quit between measurements, and showed less negative and more positive responses to the smoking ban. The association between non-smoker self-identity and intention to quit was stronger among smokers with lower than higher SES.Conclusion: Antismoking measures might be more effective if they would focus also on the identity of smokers, and help smokers to increase identification with non-smoking and non-smokers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1387-1409
JournalPsychology & Health
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2015


  • identity
  • socio-economic status
  • educational level
  • smoking cessation
  • responses
  • antismoking measures
  • smoking ban

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