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NOT PEER REVIEWED An often overlooked limitation in smoking-related studies based on surveys conducted by health institutions is the pressure on respondents to provide "the right answer." Especially in this area, where this population has been subjected to high intensity tobacco control policies and messages, sample representativeness cannot be established with certainty when those asking the questions are the originators and/or pursuers of these policies and messages and, undeniably, describing the effort as "denormalization" and seeking to form a stigma around smoking and smokers.
Furthering this theory is the strongly implied factor contained in this study's "Limitations" section that the respondents have been plucked from prior tobacco research, thereby affording them even more knowledge about the opinions of the researchers. Those who volunteer for smoking-related studies -- perhaps even receiving incentive payments? -- cannot be dismissed as the type who will lean toward providing expected answers in order to please, are indicative of the type who already agree with the perceived direction of the study, or, as already stated, fear telling the truth to those they know hold a general disapproving attitude toward the subject at hand.
Right now the sample representativeness is skewed because of this. By how much remains the question. But one should not discount wondering what the responses would be and how different...
Right now the sample representativeness is skewed because of this. By how much remains the question. But one should not discount wondering what the responses would be and how different the outcome if administered by an organization such as my own where the respondents would likely be more at ease. And while if started from scratch with recruitment it might also attract other-thinking smokers that could skew it the other way (but also then questioning this study's sample at the same time), it need not be necessary in regard to the study limitation present here today.