Harris Poll Finds Most Smokers Try, Fail to Break Habit
Most smokers understand the health risks associated with tobacco, and a large majority have tried to quit smoking and failed, suggesting that "the power of nicotine addiction is the main reason why smoking has not declined any faster," according to the Harris Poll's annual survey on health risks and behaviors. Of the 1,011 adults participating in the survey, 25% reported being smokers, a 1% increase from last year's poll. Of those who smoked, 80% said that they had tried to quit in the past. Regarding health risks linked with smoking, 88% of smokers said that they believed that smoking increases the risk of contracting lung cancer; 84% said that they believed smoking increases the risk of heart disease; and 80% said that smoking "will probably shorten" life expectancy. However, individuals "clearly continue" smoking because of the difficulty of breaking a very strong addiction," the survey concluded. The survey also found that 32% of those polled were obese, defined as 20% or more overweight, and 76% of people over age 25 were overweight, based on the Metropolitan Life tables of recommended weight ranges. The poll also found that 81% of adults report always wearing their seatbelts in the front seat of a car, a "remarkable change" from 1983, when only 19% of adults wore their seatbelts (Harris Poll, 2/14). To view the survey, go to http://www.harrisinteractive.com/harris_poll/index.asp.