Document Type

Article

Abstract

Background

Despite advanced smoking prevention and cessation policies in many countries, the prevalence of cigarette smoking among indigenous and some ethnic minorities continues to be high. This study examined the stages of change (SOC) of the readiness to quit smoking among Arab men in Israel shortly after new regulations of free-of-charge smoking cessation workshops and subsidized medications were introduced through primary health care clinics.

Methods

We conducted a countrywide study in Israel between 2012–2013. Participants, 735 current smokers; 18–64 years old; were recruited from a stratified random sample and interviewed face-to-face using a structured questionnaire in Arabic. We used ordered regression to examine the contribution of socio-economic position (SEP), health status, psychosocial attributes, smoking-related factors, and physician advice to the SOC of the readiness to quit smoking (pre-contemplation, contemplation and preparation).

Results

Of the current smokers, 61.8 % were at the pre-contemplation stage, 23.8 % were at the contemplation stage, and only 14.4 % were at the preparation stage. In the multinomial analysis, factors significantly (P < 0.05) contributing to contemplation stage compared to pre-contemplation stage included [odds ratio (OR), 95 % confidence interval (CI)]: chronic morbidity [0.52, (0.31-0.88)], social support [1.35, (1.07-1.70)], duration of smoking for 11–21 years [1.94, (1.07-3.50)], three or more previous attempts to quit [2.27, (1.26-4.01)], knowledge about smoking hazards [1.75, (1.29-2.35)], positive attitudes toward smoking prevention [1.44, (1.14-1.82)], and physician advice to quit smoking [1.88, (1.19-2.97)]. The factors significantly (P < 0.05) contributing to preparation stage compared to pre-contemplation stage were [OR, (95 % CI)]: chronic morbidity [0.36, (0.20-0.67)], anxiety [1.07, (1.01-1.13)], social support [1.34, (1.01-1.78)], duration of smoking 5 years or less [2.93, (1.14-7.52)], three or more previous attempts to quit [3.16, (1.60-6.26)], knowledge about smoking hazards [1.57, (1.10-2.21)], and positive attitudes toward smoking prevention [1.34, (1.00-1.82)].

Conclusions

Most Arab men who currently smoke are in the pre-contemplation stage, indicating low readiness to quit smoking. New policies of free-of-charge smoking-cessation group sessions and subsidized medications introduced through primary health care clinics in Israel may be less effective among Arab men. For these policies to promote cessation more successfully, tailored interventions and campaigns may be needed to increase the readiness to quit smoking in this population, especially for those at the pre-contemplation stage.

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