This research has been conducted to determine any link between the awareness and opinions of the general public concerning the link between cigarette smoking, lung cancer and other diseases such as heart disease. Results from a random telephone survey of 15 males and 15 females between the ages of 13 and 60 completed a survey given over the phone regarding smoking and perceptions about smoking. The results showed that while many people do agree that smoking can cause some health problems in older individuals, or those who had smoked for a long period of time, this information in itself did not seem to deter participants who were smokers themselves from continuing with the practice.
Health concerns regarding the effects of smoking in all elements of society have been around for the past twenty years. It is now widely accepted that smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer in the western world (www.cdc.gov), and that second hand smoke can also have negative health impacts on non-smoking family members, in particular small children. The purpose of this survey was not to determine what percentage of the population smoked, but rather what the respondents knew about the issue (in this case smoking) and what actions did they take concerning these issues. Previous research has suggested that especially amongst young people, the population might be aware of the consequences of cigarette smoking, drug taking and alcohol abuse, yet this awareness was not enough to influence their own behavior when faced with one of these issues (see CDC website links in the reference section). Although much of the recent focus on health issues has been concerning the plight of overweight children around America, smoking is still the largest user of health resources throughout the country. One issue that has not yet been studied in any great length, but should be considered is that if the teenagers in this country can be so well informed about all risky behaviors (smoking, drinking alcohol, drugs and unprotected sex, eating disorders), and still decide for themselves to act in a risky manner then the campaigns in place to help overweight children are in danger of being as disrespected and ignored as recent campaigns on the danger of drink, drugs and smoking. The hypotheses considered in this paper is that the amount of knowledge a respondent has about an issue (such as smoking), will have no bearing on the actions this individual chooses to take in their own lives.
The participants in this survey were 15 males and 15 females aged between 13 and 60 years of age, who consented to take part in a telephone survey about perceptions the public might have about the problems associated with smoking. Of those males surveyed 67% of the participants were smokers, with 20% of participants being under the age of 21 years, 67% of males were between the ages of 21 – 35 years and 13% of the males were over the age of 35 years of age. The 15 female participants included 13% under the age of 21 years, 54% of respondents aged 21 years to 35 years and 33% of respondents being over the age of 35 years of age. Six females considered themselves smokers out of the 15 females surveyed (40%).
The phone numbers used for this survey were randomly selected using “The Random Digits” document that is Appendix Two of the book A million random digits with 100,000 normal deviates, (Rand Corporation, 1995). Participants were contacted by phone in the early evening between 5.30 pm and 8.30 pm and were asked if they would care to take part in an opinion survey about cigarette smoking. The first three questions in this survey determined the