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EMAC 2019 Annual Conference

The “Smoking Keeps you Slim” Lay Belief: Effects on Smokers’ Intentions and Behaviors

Published: May 28, 2019


Mohamad saif, NEOMA business school ; Pierrick Gomez, NEOMA business school


Lay theories; Smoking keeps you slim; Intentions to quit smoking


ABSTRACT This research examines the effects of the smoking keeps you slim lay belief on smokers’ health-related intentions and behaviors and suggests recommendations to improve anti-smoking marketing. Building on past research indicating that fear of gaining weight is a barrier to quitting smoking and that lay beliefs are strong determinants of health behaviors, we theorized that smokers may have developed the lay belief that smoking helps stay slim (i.e., the smoking keeps you slim belief). The results of this research show that the smoking keeps you slim lay belief decreases smokers’ intention and motivation to quit smoking (experiments 1-3-4) and increases smokers’ actual smoking behavior (experiment 2). Moreover, we further demonstrate that a decreased perception in smoking risk severity mediates the relationship between the smoking keeps you slim lay belief and smokers’ intention and motivation to quit smoking (experiment 3), and that self-esteem moderates this mediation (experiment 4). This dissertation contributes theoretically by extending the literature on anti-smoking marketing, and on consumer lay theories and health-related behavior. Managerially, this research suggests that public policymakers should legislate to restrict linking smoking to slimness in tobacco advertising and cigarette design and educate consumers about the negative consequences of this lay belief.


Authors: Mohamad Saif and Pierrick Gomez