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The downside of tobacco control? Smoking and self-stigma: a systematic review

Evans-Polce, Rebecca J., Castaldelli-Maia, Joao M., Schomerus, Georg and Evans-Lacko, Sara ORCID: 0000-0003-4691-2630 (2015) The downside of tobacco control? Smoking and self-stigma: a systematic review. Social Science & Medicine, 145. pp. 26-34. ISSN 0277-9536

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.09.026


Objective Little is known about the consequences of tobacco smoking stigma on smokers and how smokers may internalize smoking-related stigma. This review summarizes existing literature on tobacco smoking self-stigma, investigating to what extent smokers are aware of negative stereotypes, agree with them and apply them to themselves. Methods We carried out a systematic search of Pubmed/Web of Science/PsycInfo databases for articles related to smoking self-stigma through June 2013. Reference lists and citations of included studies were also checked and experts were contacted. After screening articles for inclusion/exclusion criteria we performed a quality assessment and summarized findings according to the stages of self-stigma as conceptualized in Corrigan's progressive model of self-stigma (aware, agree, apply and harm). Initial searches yielded 570 articles. Results Thirty of these articles (18 qualitative and 12 quantitative studies) met criteria for our review. Awareness of smoking stigma was virtually universal across studies. Coping strategies for smoking stigma and the degree to which individuals who smoke internalized this stigma varied both within and across studies. There was considerable variation in positive, negative, and non-significant consequences associated with smoking self-stigma. Limited evidence was found for subgroup differences in smoking-related stigma. Conclusion While there is some evidence that smoking self-stigma leads to reductions in smoking, this review also identified significant negative consequences of smoking self-stigma. Future research should assess the factors related to differences in how individuals respond to smoking stigma. Public health strategies which limit the stigmatization of smokers may be warranted.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2015 Elsevier Ltd
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date Deposited: 22 Oct 2015 11:02
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 03:20
Projects: P50DA010075, T32DA017629
Funders: National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), European Research Council

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