Identifying subgroups among hardcore smokers: A latent profile approach

Jeroen Bommele, Marloes Kleinjan, Tim M. Schoenmakers, William J. Burk, Regina van den Eijnden, Dike van de Mheen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Hardcore smokers are smokers who have little to no intention to quit. Previous research suggests that there are distinct subgroups among hardcore smokers and that these subgroups vary in the perceived pros and cons of smoking and quitting. Identifying these subgroups could help to develop individualized messages for the group of hardcore smokers. In this study we therefore used the perceived pros and cons of smoking and quitting to identify profiles among hardcore smokers.

A sample of 510 hardcore smokers completed an online survey on the perceived pros and cons of smoking and quitting. We used these perceived pros and cons in a latent profile analysis to identify possible subgroups among hardcore smokers. To validate the profiles identified among hardcore smokers, we analysed data from a sample of 338 non-hardcore smokers in a similar way.

We found three profiles among hardcore smokers. ‘Receptive’ hardcore smokers (36%) perceived many cons of smoking and many pros of quitting. ‘Ambivalent’ hardcore smokers (59%) were rather undecided towards quitting. ‘Resistant’ hardcore smokers (5%) saw few cons of smoking and few pros of quitting. Among non-hardcore smokers, we found similar groups of ‘receptive’ smokers (30%) and ‘ambivalent’ smokers (54%). However, a third group consisted of ‘disengaged’ smokers (16%), who saw few pros and cons of both smoking and quitting.

Among hardcore smokers, we found three distinct profiles based on perceived pros and cons of smoking. This indicates that hardcore smokers are not a homogenous group. Each profile might require a different tobacco control approach. Our findings may help to develop individualized tobacco control messages for the particularly hard-to-reach group of hardcore smokers.
Original languageEnglish
Article number0133570
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


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