Table 1

Misperceptions about smoking reported in recent surveys

Date of surveyReferenceSurvey method and sampleKnowledge/belief questionResponse to question
1994 48 Nationwide telephone survey of 335 current and recent ex-smokers“Do you know the tar level of the cigarette you smoke?”79% said no
1995 47 Nationwide telephone survey of 737 current smokers“Do you think your risk of a myocardial infarction (or cancer) is higher, the same, or lower than other (men/women) your age?”Only 29% and 40% of smokers believed they have a higher average risk of myocardial infarction or cancer, respectively
1996 46 Telephone survey of 142 Light and Ultra Light cigarette smokers in Massachusetts“Does your current brand have any rings of holes on the filter?”Less than 20% of respondents answered yes, even though most Light and Ultra Light brands have ventilated filter tips
1997 50 In-person intercept survey of a convenience sample of 52 current and 24 former smokers.“Do you think a filter makes a cigarette safer than the same cigarette without a filter?58% answered “yes”
2001 51 Nationwide telephone survey of 1046 current smokers“Has the addition of filters made cigarette smoking less dangerous? “Has the reduction of tar in made cigarette smoking less dangerous?”65% answered “yes” or “don't know” to the filter question. 64% answered “yes” or “don't know” to the tar reduction question