Behavioral Change Theories on Smoking, Free Essay Sample for You

Published: 2022-03-09
Behavioral Change Theories on Smoking, Free Essay Sample for You
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Healthcare Human behavior
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1798 words
15 min read

The most successful public health policies and initiatives are based on the understanding of health behaviors and the aspects in which they take place. Therefore, smoking requires interventions that will enhance the health behavior condition which can be developed through acquiring a better understanding of the relevant theories of behavior change and the capability of applying them competently. Different concepts and models enhance the act of disease avoidance and health advancement. Such models and hypotheses are employed in program designing to learn and discuss the health behaviors as well as guiding the documentation of policies which will foster health and deterrence of disease programs. Therefore, the constructs from theoretical models are applied continuously to elucidate health behaviors and offer directives on prevention methods such as smoking cessation programs.

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Behavior Change Technique

A behavioral change technique in smoking is a technique or a theory that comprises of a physiological approach as well as the psychoanalysis procedures. Subsequently, this intellectual behavior rehabilitation is applied to develop an encouraging atmosphere that aids in transforming dysfunctional responses as well as exhibiting behaviors that are adaptive. Various behavioral theories are designed to discuss why persons do and do not apply specific health behaviors (Hughes & Carpenter, 2006). In most cases, these philosophies scrutinize the prognosticators and precursors of health conditions. A majority of these notions are characterized with shared aspects such as motivation and self-value. Self-efficacy is a person's credence in their aptitude to accomplish something, for instance, transform a behavior that is connected with health, and it is derived from an individual's past success or failure in specific actions. In that, self-efficacy is viewed as a way of envisaging the level of exertion an individual will expand while making effort to change.

Notably, condemnation of various behavioral change philosophies centers on their stress on specific behavior while eliminating the impact of economic matters, environment, policy level obligations and sociocultural elements (Oettingen et al., 2010). Restrictions such as prolonged disclosure to political mayhem, bad hygiene, and violence are overlooked as opposed to paying more attention on specific perceptive processes. Therefore, on the issue of helping an individual to quit smoking, it requires gentle encouragement and support on face to face basis through the application of social-cognitive theory. In that, this technique holds that people learn the habit of smoking by observing others do it and then they imitate and model what they have seen so that they can also feel they are part of the group and group activity.

Tobacco smoking is one of the leading cause of avoidable untimely bereavement globally. While a large number of smokers would love to bring to an end the addictive and habitual nature of smoking, it makes the cessation to be a problematic (Dirtu & Soponaru, 2014). Clinical interventions imply that smoking cessation interventions should comprise of both pharmacotherapy and behavioral support. Therefore, this work will seek to widen our knowledge on the significant role of behavioral theories in encouraging and supporting smoking cessation efforts.

Smoking is believed to be behavior in which the tobacco or the cannabis drugs are burned and inhaled. A majority of smokers start such practices at a very young stage or even during early adulthood phase of their life. In that, when children observe their parents or other adults engaging in the habit of smoking, they tend to believe that this behavior is acceptable (Ames et al., 2008). Moreover, smoking is a habit that is primarily caused by the peer pressure or influence form the people around a person. Both private and social elements are at a higher chances of promoting smoking among several individuals (Hughes & Carpenter, 2006). Although conferring to psychologists, the smoking habit is mostly attributed to the operant conditioning. Therefore, the reward's behavior transformation method is appropriate so that it can minimize the unhealthy habits of smoking.

Addiction can be seen as a learned behavior due to the positive reinforcement such as enjoyment and pleasure that is derived from behavior such as smoking. Therefore, this notion makes the chances of indulging in such activities tend to be so high in the future. For instance, the addictive affluence such as nicotine is immediately rewarding since they are known to activate some parts of the brain that controls the feeling of pleasure which in return enhances quick learning. Nevertheless, the reward behavior adjustment theory is used for altering the conducts of any smoker because of the knowledge that the smoker has been engaging in smoking activities for over an extended period (Dirtu & Soponaru, 2014). The core motivations for the person may comprise of the signs of withdrawal and the negative fortification. Consequently, negative reinforcement will successfully illuminate the maintenance of smoking based on the withdrawal symptoms.

In this case, the operant conditioning theory is linked with the behavior changes that are experienced in smoking. Therefore, this technique involves operating on the environment in such a way that it will reward specific behaviors that are in a person's environment with the intent of changing or eradicating the smoking habit of an individual. Typically, the reward assurance in most instances generates a positive bolstering for smoking actions (Niaura & Abrams, 2002). In other words, persons simply adopt and get habituated so that they can communicate and socialize. For example, as the effects of nicotine start to reduce, symptoms such as increased nervousness, severe temper or mood swings may be encountered.

The individual then stands a high chance of smoking a cigarette to get rid of these harmful reinforcements or symptoms hence the likelihood of repeating this habit in the future. It is also vital to note that environmental settings predispose the behavioral smoking patterns. For instance, a smoker associates certain mood swings, environmental aspects or situations with the rewarding impacts of nicotine and these prompts are most likely to elicit a relapse.

Notably, the operant conditioning theory comprises of the application of the rewards to minimize the smoking habit. Two methods can reward smokers, they include: the adverse reward that involves the elimination of something that is typically hostile to the smoking habit and the positive rewards entails the endowment of something that is enjoyable to the smoking habit (Oettingen et al., 2010). Both the negative and positive elements are viewed to be dependable in the operant habituation theory. To make sure that this theory is effective, the nonsmoking actions are remunerated for an extensive duration of the smokers' accord. On the other hand, the hypothetical approach is perceived to be an efficient technique that centers on the smokers' association with other individuals and health behaviors (Niaura & Abrams, 2002). This method fosters the nonsmoking health behaviors being rewarded to the individuals involved in the use of quantities and qualitative techniques. Therefore, the recompensing system for non-smoking acts in the operant condition concept employs the following approaches: self-recompensing, self-retribution, and contingency contracting.

Contingency Contracting


This approach involves an instant reprimand that is operative in assisting a person to unlearn the smoking habit. For instance, the common approaches involves putting on a rubber band on the wrist regularly. When a person catches himself smoking, he is supposed to snap it touching the wrist in a manner that he or she will feel the pain. This is one of the spiteful effects of smoking behavior. It is a feeling of sadness or unpleasant feeling that makes the smoker to be less engrossed in smoking. Another option involves the withdrawal of the things that the smoker enjoys doing while smoking such as playing music.

Contingency Contracting

This is one of the simplest and most straightforward operant condition approaches. It involves an agreement strike between a smoker and an individual close to the smoker. The person in question comes up with a reward and consequences for either smoking or nonsmoking. The regularly used approaches in the rewarding strategy are offering the person some amounts of money for not smoking so that it can encourage nonsmoking behaviors. The process makes sure that the smoker does not lose hope for being patient for the reward and puts more effort not to indulge in smoking activities. Therefore, the reward functions as the reinforcement to the smoker to quit this habit.


This approach is based on the perception that the smoker has the determination to change the smoking act. The smoker designs the kind of rewards to stop smoking. The method comprises of carrying out some of his or her much loved tasks when not lighting a cigar. Other undertakings entail going to public places since smoking is not permitted in those areas. In situations where the smoker falls into temptation and smokes, he or she is required to deny herself the pleasures of that day (Oettingen, Mayer, & Thorpe, 2010). This approach is useful since it clearly points out a certain reward to be relieved for every day passing without smoking and he or she has to comply.

Hypnosis and Smoking

A majority of clinicians applies the hypnotic reward approach or punishment to aid smokers to stop their smoking habit. It is also linked with the operant conditioning theory. Imaginatively, the smokers are encouraged to associate cigarettes with repulsive ambiances such as stinking mouths, cancer, and kitchen chimneys. The technique has produced positive effects since it helps the smoker to believe that he or she will lose the urge to smoke and manage to live well during the withdrawal smoking period (Oettingen et al., 2010). Therefore, this approach assumes that the encouragement is the most crucial aspect in the smoking cessation since it pays more attention to the element of taking care of the body and the entire life of a person who wants to quit smoking.

To sum up, operant philosophies are applied to encourage smokers to watch and recognize their behavior so that they can change both the ecological and emotional signs that trigger the urge to smoke accompanied by the assistances that promote the habit of smoking. Therefore, the adaptation of a particular behavioral transformation can be subjective to the logic sensitive behavioral psychotherapy. In such scenario, the behavioral exploration is applied to examine some environmental conditions and emergencies so that it can successfully reduce punishments and increase rewards. Subsequently, the environment is structured to maintain a suitable behavior through the act of administering rewards and punishments.


Ames, S. C., Rock, E., Hurt, R. D., Patten, C. A., Croghan, I. T., Stoner, S. M., & Nelson, M. (2008). Development and feasibility of a parental support intervention for adolescent smokers. Substance Use & Misuse, 43(3/4), 497-511.

Dirtu, M. C., & Soponaru, C. (2014). Smoking cessation therapy: between risk perception and behavior change. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 142, 325-331. Doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.07.643

Hughes, J. R., & Carpenter, M. J. (2006). Does smoking reduction increase future cessation and decrease disease risk? A qualitative review. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 8, 739-749. Doi: 10.1080/14622200600789726.

Niaura, R., & Abrams, D. B. (2002). Smoking...

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