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Stages of change in quitting smoking: its relation with attitudes towards

an in-company smoking policy


J. Meganck

Limburgs Universitair Centrum




The transtheoretical model (TTM) is widely accepted as a useful framework in health promotion. It has often been applied to smoking, resulting in scientific support for the predictive validity of the TTM regarding the success of attempts to quit smoking. This study, however, has a different goal. Rather than trying to predict smoking cessation, it aims to explore the relationships between subjects’ stages of change and their attitudes towards the creation of an in-company smoking policy.




All staff members of the Limburgs Universitair Centrum (n=650) and of the central administrative services of the government of the province of Limburg, Belgium (n=823) were contacted via their employee’s e-mail and were asked to fill out an on-line questionnaire (n total=1473). In the end data was collected from 739 non-smokers and 160 smokers (n=899, respons rate= 61.0%).




There is a clear difference between stages regarding the question whether or not the employer should focus on prevention of smoking: in de termination and consolidation stages about 80% is in favour, versus 35% in the pre-contemplation stage.

Regarding the preferred smoking policy about 40% of all employees is in favour of a separate location and another 40% for a total ban on smoking. Again there are clear differences between stages: a separate location is advocated by only 35% in termination, versus 62% in contemplation; a smoking ban is supported by 52% in the termination stage, versus about 5% in pre-contemplation, and contemplation stages.

The contemplators are more interested in aid provided by the employer to cease smoking (57%) than both preparators (45%), and pre-contemplators (26%); inversely, about 40% of the pre-contemplators is not interested versus 35% of the preparators and 19% of the contemplators.

As for the predicted effect of a smoking ban, about 40% of the smokers indicate they would not change their behaviour, regardless of the stage they are in. There is an obvious difference between stages regarding the second action: 30% of the preparators would try to quit, 30% of the contemplators would smoke less, and 30% of the precontemplators would take other actions.




The results clearly indicate that the stage of change makes an important difference in the attitudes regarding the installation of an in-company smoking policy.






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