Health  Vol.6 No.11 , May 2014
Experiences of Being Non-Smoking among Adolescents in a Smoking Context
Abstract: Introduction: A study among Greenlandic 13-year-old showed that 68 percent for boys and 55 percent for girls, and at age 15, 46 percent of the boys and 32 percent of the girls were non-smokers. A literature review showed that the behaviour of parents and peers, attitudes and expectations were crucial factors for the smoking habits of adolescents. Young adults would more likely start smoking if their parents, older siblings and/or friends were smokers. Parental support has been proven to be a preventive factor against smoking, especially if the school and leisure centers get involved. Group pressure, directly or indirectly, is often described as the most important reason why adolescents start smoking. The purpose was to study why some adolescents choose to be smoke-free in a society where the norm is to smoke. Methods: Adolescents who were non-smokers were interviewed in focus groups. The material was analysed using content analysis. Results: The contents analysis of the text resulted in eleven categories. Based on these, four themes were developed. These themes covered areas on the reasons for being smoke-free; how the smoke-free adolescents generally felt about smokers from a society or environment perspective, and also specifically from an individual perspective, such as how smokers took up space and did not show any consideration. There was a feeling among non-smokers of not belonging and of ambivalence, as well as a perspective of the future for adolescents in Greenland and an uncertainty about what would be required for a smoke-free environment. Conclusions: In a context where the norm is to smoke, the adolescents need to make a conscious choice to be smoke-free, and there were different reasons for this choice. This choice means becoming an outsider in their group of peers as well as the overall social culture. Smokers were seen as taking up too much space, as their needs ruled and this was deemed inconsiderate.
Cite this paper: Edvardsson, I. , Geisler, D. and Lendahls, L. (2014) Experiences of Being Non-Smoking among Adolescents in a Smoking Context. Health, 6, 1133-1142. doi: 10.4236/health.2014.611140.

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