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This report will explain two different models of behavior change in regards to
recent national health education campaigns. It will discuss anti-smoking
campaigns and how and why they are targeting certain groups of people in order
to educate them on how to lead healthier and longer lives by warning them about
the damage brought on by smoking.
Cigarette smoking is the major cause of many chronic and deadly conditions,
such as cancer, pneumonia, stroke, heart disease, pulmonary disease,
periodontal disease, and many others. In recent years, tobacco smoking has
remained the single most preventable cause of cancer and cardiovascular
diseases (heart diseases.) According to the World Health Organization, tobacco
over four million deaths are attributed to tobacco a year, and this figure is
expected to rise to 12 million deaths per year by 2025.
The two most common theories that have been used by health education campaigns
to curb smoking are the theory of planned behavior and the theory of reasoned
action. Both theories may be treated as one since they share the same concepts.
For humans, behavior is normally guided by three things which work hand in
hand: behavioral beliefs, normative beliefs, and control beliefs. Behavioral
beliefs produce a positive or negative attitude toward the behavior, normative
beliefs result in subjective norms, and control beliefs give rise to perceived
The theories of reasoned action and planned behavior depict that an
individual’s behavior is determined by their intentions to perform the
behavior, which, in the case of tobacco use or cigarette smoking, is a result
of the individual’s perceived behavioral control where the individual’s
behavior is determined by the ease or difficulty to successfully execute the
behavior. This may directly or indirectly be affected by external factors. Here
the individual may tend to use use tobacco in the presence or absence of
promoters making it difficult for him/her to quit. Another example may be that
a smoker knows that if he/she quits smoking there will be withdrawal symptoms,
but the individual is confident that he/she will live a life free from
Second is the subjective norms that are a result of normative beliefs.
Normative belief is the perception an individual has towards a certain behavior
because of the social out look of whether he/she should or should not engage in
such behavior. Ultimately, this results in a subjective norm where, in this
case, the individual belief and perception towards smoking is influenced by
others’ approval or disapproval of tobacco use. The individual's actions are
weighted by their motivation to comply with others’ wishes.
Third is the attitude towards the behavior where an individual’s beliefs
about the causes and outcomes of using tobacco are weighted by their
evaluations of the outcomes. Attitudes about smoking can be direct or indirect;
a direct attitude about smoking may be a smoker’s overall assessment about
whether quitting is good or bad. An attitude involves how strongly a person
believes an ultimate outcome will occur as a result of performing the behavior,
coupled with an assessment of that outcome. For example, a smoker might believe
that it’s very likely she will gain unwanted weight if she quits smoking.
Last is the behavioral intention where, according to both of the theories, the
individual’s determination and urge to perform something mostly leads to the
occurrence of that behavior. The factors that influence this are attitudes,
norms, and perceived behavioral control about quitting smoking.
The theory of reasoned action and theory of planned behavior assume a similar
relationship between an individual's attitudes about a behavior, her intention,
and the actual performance of that behavior. Another assumption is that people
process every piece of information separately and act accordingly. Simple
observation of many smokers will likely reveal that even the best intentions do
not necessarily result in quitting.
Social learning theory (also known as cognitive behavior therapy) is sometimes
used with nicotine replacement. Here, the individual focuses on his/her
confidence in their ability to stop smoking, exploring ambivalence about
quitting and learning ways of coping with stress and urges to smoke.