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Nicotine Tob Res. 2004 Jun;6(3):491-500.

Qualitative investigation of young smokers' and ex-smokers' views on smoking cessation methods.

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  • 1Natalie Kishchuk Research and Evaluation Inc., Kirkland, Quebec, Canada.


The analysis reported in this paper was conducted to further explore initially negative findings of a study intended to help orient the development, implementation, and evaluation of smoking cessation programs for junior college students. A total of 69 students (39 males and 30 females) participated in nine focus group discussions held at one French-speaking and one English-speaking college in central Montreal. Three groups consisted of ex-smokers, and the remainder were current smokers. Group participants were asked to react to a series of proposed smoking cessation interventions identified from the literature. Qualitative analysis was undertaken of verbatim transcriptions of five of the focus group discussions, with input from the four others. Second-level analysis of the focus group data suggested that the students' reactions to proposed smoking cessation interventions could be understood using Eriksonian developmental theory, in particular how the cessation programs could contribute to the process of consolidating personal and social identity. Implications for the design of cessation programs were then identified. The results of these exploratory analyses suggested that to attract and maintain participation of college students, smoking cessation interventions should not necessarily be centered on smoking but rather (a) provide opportunities and support for exploration of, and commitment to, personal and social identities that exclude smoking, (b) target naturally occurring social groups while responding to students' needs for social support and validation, and (c) help students cope with stress and life demands and not add to these.

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