After voluminous research studies, numerous lawsuits and millions of deaths linked to cigarettes, it might seem likely that Americans now properly understand the risks of smoking.

But they don’t, according to Stanford scholars Jon Krosnick and Neil Malhotra. Their recent study shows that despite most Americans’ recognizing that smoking can lead to life-threatening diseases, they don’t understand how much that risk increases.

“Smoking is outlawed in public places in the U.S., and the number of people smoking has declined over decades,” said Krosnick, a professor of communication and political science at Stanford and the study’s lead author. “Yet people continue to initiate the habit of smoking, and many smokers do not try to quit.”


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