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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111


PEREZ-MILENA, Alejandro et al. Motivations for tobacco consumption among adolescents in an urban high school. Gac Sanit [online]. 2012, vol.26, n.1, pp.51-57. ISSN 0213-9111.

Objective: To determine the motivations (attitudes, beliefs and experiences) for tobacco consumption among adolescents. Methods: This study was based on qualitative methodology using six 50-minute discussion groups with 6-8 adolescents per group during the 2008/09 school year. Purposive sampling was performed of 12-18 year-old adolescents attending a middle-class urban school (Jaén, Spain). The sample was stratified by educational level as the homogeneity criterion and gender and tobacco consumption as the heterogeneity criterion. Content analysis consisted of coding, triangulation of categories and obtaining and verifying the results. Results: There were 44 adolescents (54% male). The participants reported that smoking relaxed and improved self-image, providing security (boys) and improving relations with the opposite sex, as well as weight control (girls). The family encouraged smoking by providing a model to imitate, although many adolescents hid their smoking from their families. Friends constituted a pressure group to start or continue smoking. Starting secondary school marked the beginning of experimental use. Society tended to accept consumption and buying tobacco was easy for minors. University students were a role model and were free to smoke. The adolescents looked to their parents and educators/health workers to provide a model of abstinence and reported that they were well informed but only remembered powerful messages. Participants unanimously indicated that tobacco causes addiction, but in proportion to the duration of consumption, and were concerned only with the immediate symptoms caused by smoking. Teenage smokers associated multiple drug use with leisure time. Conclusions: This study provides useful data on motivation that could be used to improve smoking prevention interventions among adolescents. The most important factors seem to be peer influence, parental attitudes, easy access to tobacco and symptoms of dependence.

Keywords : Tobacco; Adolescents; Motivation; Discussion forums; Qualitative analysis.

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