hero image

Smokers exhibit distinct preferences that correlate closely with their personality traits, according to a study in PLOS ONE. Researchers discovered that cigar enthusiasts tend to score high in openness and low in neuroticism, contrasting sharply with cigarette smokers. This divergence suggests varied motivations behind smoking habits, challenging uniform approaches to tobacco cessation.

Cigar smoking associated with leisure

Dr. Dritjon Gruda and Jim A. McCleskey depict cigar smoking as deliberate and social, associated with leisure and sophistication. In contrast, cigarette use often serves as stress relief, linked more to habitual behavior than social engagement.

The study drew from data in the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe, analyzing 9,918 participants aged 50 and above across 11 countries. Utilizing the Big Five Inventory-10, a personality assessment tool, researchers explored traits like openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism in relation to smoking habits. Statistical methods, including multi-level logistic regression, unveiled nuanced patterns, adjusting for age, gender, and cultural influences to ensure robust findings.

Key findings indicated that smokers generally score lower on conscientiousness and agreeableness, and higher on extraversion compared to non-smokers. Cigar smokers demonstrated a 21% greater likelihood of openness and a 34% lower likelihood of neuroticism compared to cigarette users.

Interestingly, men showed an 86% higher likelihood of cigar smoking than women. Conscientiousness exhibited a negative correlation with all forms of smoking, indicating that more conscientious individuals are less prone to smoke, irrespective of the type of tobacco product.

Tailored interventions necessary for smoking cessation

These insights challenge simplistic views on smoking behavior, advocating for tailored cessation strategies. For cigar enthusiasts, interventions might emphasize alternative social engagements or address the allure of luxury associated with cigars. Conversely, interventions for cigarette smokers could focus on stress management techniques to tackle emotional triggers prompting smoking.

The study’s authors emphasize that their findings are based on older adults and may not fully apply to younger generations. Therefore further research for different age groups and encompassing newer tobacco forms like e-cigarettes and vaping is necessary to understand the correlation and thus develop effective interventions.