Gendered factors for heated tobacco product use: Focus group interviews with Korean adults
Kwanwook Kim 1
Jinyoung Kim 2
Hong-Jun Cho 3  
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Department of Anthropology, College of Social Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
Southern Gyeonggi Regional Smoking Cessation Center, Hallym University, Anyang, Republic of Korea
Department of Family Medicine, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea
Hong-Jun Cho   

Department of Family Medicine, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, 88, Olympic-ro-43-gil, Songpagu, Seoul, 05505, Republic of Korea
Publication date: 2020-05-14
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2020;18(May):43
Since June 2017, heated tobacco products (HTPs) have been on sale in Korea, comprising approximately 11.8% of total tobacco sales in April 2019. This research illuminates hitherto unexplored gendered factors influencing the use of HTPs.

The participants for the focus group interviews (FGI) were recruited among those who use or have used HTPs. Participants were separated into six groups (a total of 38 persons: 20 men and 18 women). Each FGI, lasting for two hours, was audio-recorded and transcribed, and subsequently coded to conduct a content analysis using NVivo V12.

Both male and female participants shared the same opinion that HTPs were ‘less smelly’ and that despite their significant merit, HTPs had slightly different usages and places of use. First, male participants used them to avoid family members’ pressure to quit smoking, and female participants used them to avoid the stigma associated with female smoking. Second, men tended to use HTPs indoors, mostly in non-smoking areas, while women used them outdoors, mainly in the streets. Both genders were dissatisfied with the taste of HTPs and often used them in combination with combustible cigarettes (CCs). In terms of taste, dual use, absence of smoking cessation, and perception of harm, no definite gendered difference was found. Almost half of the participants considered HTPs to be less harmful than cigarettes, while others contended that they were equally harmful. Many agreed that there was no strong correlation between the use of HTPs and smoking cessation.

Since HTPs have the potential to weaken motivating factors for smoking cessation in both male and female users, an understanding of their characteristics with gendered factors is beneficial to establishing policies to prevent the spread of HTP use and increase the overall rate of smoking cessation.

The authors have completed and submitted the ICMJE Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest and none was reported.
This research was funded by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, Republic of Korea (11-1352000-002406-01).
All the authors designed the study. KK and JK collected and analysed the data. KK prepared the first draft of the manuscript. KK and HJC reviewed the drafts and helped prepare the final manuscript.
Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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