Individuals’ social norms, beliefs and attitudes towards a behaviour predict their intentions and behaviours. Several studies have found that smoking behaviour is greatly influenced by individuals’ perceptions of social norms about smoking. There is substantial evidence that the perceived smoking prevalence rate is a strong predictor for actual smoking behaviour among young people. There is, however, a shortage of literature on perceived daily smoking prevalence among adults, and how this relates to smoking behaviour.
This brief report examines the difference between perceived and actual daily smoking prevalence by socio-demographic groups and smoking status using a nationally representative sample of New Zealanders aged 15 years and over (the Health and Lifestyle Survey, HLS). This study found that there is significant misperception between self-reported actual and perceived smoking prevalence.