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Five Decades of Risk Perception Measurements of Tobacco Use: A Review of Literature

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Perceptions of risk are beliefs about the likelihood of damage or loss. People make subjective judgments regarding the intensity and features of a danger. Smoking start and continuation are influenced by risk perception. Risk perception of tobacco use or smoking has always been controversial. Few studies found that risk perception is overestimated by smokers and tobacco users, while other studies found that smokers underestimate the risk of smoking. It has been observed that different authors have been using different approaches to measure the risk perception of tobacco use. The present literature review is an ontological exploration of the process of calculating this construct and determining which method gives more holistic and robust information. A literature survey was carried out to understand different ways in which risk perception can be measured. Fifty-seven studies were identified from 1970 to 2020 in which risk perception was calculated for any form of tobacco use. The literature review found that the researchers used two practical approaches to measure risk perception. In the first approach, the researchers tried to measure only the health risks of tobacco use, and in the second, multiple dimensions of tobacco use were measured. Most commonly perceived addiction and then the social risk of tobacco use was accessed. Though recent literature is dominated by an approach where a single dimension, i.e., perceived health risk of tobacco use, is most commonly access, it is inferring from the available literature that tools that access multiple sizes of the perceived risk of tobacco use give more comprehensive and robust information about that construct which can be used further to create tobacco use prevention intervention.


Swapnil Gadhave, Aarti Nagarkar, Abhay Saraf. Five Decades of Risk Perception Measurements of Tobacco Use: A Review of Literature. Cardiometry; Issue 20; November 2021; p.88-99; DOI: 10.18137/cardiometry.2021.20.8899; Available from:


Tobacco,  Risk perception,  Prevention,  Experience,  Addiction
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