Experiences of young smokers in quitting smoking in twin cities of Pakistan: a phenomenological study
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Al Shifa School of Public Health, Pakistan
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A305
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Smoking is highly prevalent in Pakistan claiming lives of over 100,000 individuals every year. A significant proportion of smokers makes quit attempt each year but 97.4% fails to quit successfully. Little is known about the reasons of failed quit attempts.

A qualitative study was carried out using phenomenological approach in Rawalpindi and Islamabad to document experience of smokers during quitting. Eleven male participants were interviewed. All study participants had made at least one quit attempt. The study participants were a mix of smokers who failed to quit smoking, intermittent smokers and successful quitters. Streubert's (1991) method of phenomenology was followed during data analysis.

The journey of quitting smoking is deeply embedded in smoking phase experiences of smokers. Smoking phase experiences consist of three stages: getting in contact with stimuli to smoke, journey from first puff to enjoying smoking and then finally smoking becomes part of life. However, the quitting phase is not as smooth and simple as is the case with smoking phase. Instead, smokers get trapped into three overlapping vicious circles of smoking and quit attempts: smoking & forced quitting, smoking & intentional quitting, and smoking & intermittent smoking before successful quitting at young age. Breaking the vicious circle is not easy in the presence of trapping factors (addiction, high availability, easy affordability, conducive social setup and low perceived risks of smoking). Three factors play a major role in breaking these circles which are strong will power, continuous peer support and avoidance of smokers' company.

A young smoker, during his experience of quitting smoking gets entrapped into several overlapping vicious circles of smoking & quit attempts before successful quitting. There are known entrapping factors as well as factors which help in breaking these circles. Targeted interventions are needed to facilitate smoking cessation among young smokers in Pakistan.

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