Author(s): Abdullah AS, Ho WW
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Abstract The aim of this study was to investigate the attitudes of Chinese adolescents toward smoking, giving up smoking, and smoking cessation programs presently available. The study was a qualitative study carried out in 2002 by focus groups of 32 male secondary school students in Hong Kong who were either current smokers or had recently given up smoking. Subjects were students (grades 8-10) attending two full-day secondary schools in Hong Kong. Participants did not feel the need to make any serious psychological preparation for quitting. They underestimated the addictive nature of cigarette smoking and felt that they could choose to quit smoking at any time with little difficulty. Several barriers to quitting were reported, including boredom, peer influence, the urge to smoke, school work pressure, the wish to do something with their hands, difficulty in concentrating, and the ready availability of free cigarettes from peers. Those who had attempted to quit smoking (26/32) reported that peer influence and boredom were the main reasons why they started smoking and insisted that willpower and determination could have helped them in their quitting attempt. Participants were unanimous that pressure or encouragement from teachers, parents, or girlfriends did not help them to stay off cigarettes. Most (24/32) of the current smokers knew that smoking cessation services were available in Hong Kong, only 50\% (12/24) of those who knew had made use of such services. None of the participants were able to identify any effective way of quitting smoking, though some suggested that the best practical measure was to avoid friends who smoked. The study suggests that attempts to persuade young people to quit smoking might benefit if they were framed to address issues such as the strong influence of their peers, the ease with which tobacco products can be obtained, the casual attitudes of young people toward smoking cessation, the perceived pros and cons of quitting, and (given that underage smoking is frowned upon by many parents and teachers) the need to respect confidentiality when offering support.
This article was published in Subst Use Misuse
and referenced in Applied Microbiology: Open Access