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Editorial | Hardening is dead, long live softening; time to focus on reducing disparities in smoking

A new editorial on the ‘hardening hypothesis’ has recently been published in Tobacco Control.

The editorial is in response to a new study from Victoria in Australia which provides evidence refuting the ‘hardening’ hypothesis. This hypothesis states that as smoking prevalence declines, the proportion of ‘hard-core’ or ‘hardened’ smokers increases.

The author, Richard Edwards of ASPIRE 2025 argues that the evidence from many different countries points instead towards ‘softening’ of the smoker population as they smoke less cigarettes per day and become more motivated to quit.

The editorial concludes by arguing that ‘hardening’ is a distraction and that the focus in tobacco control should be on how to reduce smoking among disadvantaged high prevalence populations and reduce smoking-related disparities.  

For more information please contact: richard.edwards@otago.ac.nz

Citation

Edwards R. (2019) Hardening is dead, long live softening; time to focus on reducing disparities in smoking. Tobacco Control Published Online First: 30 May 2019. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2019-055067