How behavioral norm and social influence affect smoking in young adulthood: the experience of Korean young adults
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Department of Public Health Science, Graduate School of Public Health, Seoul National University, Korea, Republic of
Institute of Health and Environment, Seoul National University, Korea, Republic of
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A957
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This qualitative study explored the smoking behavior and its socio-environmental contexts of Korean young adults aged 19-30 years, the age group with an upward trend of smoking.

8 focus groups with 63 participants in Seoul discussed the meaning, behavior, and experience of smoking and its environment. The groups were formed by the current status of smoking(daily, social, and former), gender, and occupation. Thematic analysis was performed on all focus groups.

The exposure to paternal and peer smoking in childhood lowered resistance and increased access to smoking. It particularly created a belief that smoking is a behavioral option to release stress. Smoking also meant an opportunity to have a break at work, school, and military service among that allows time to be alone or to socialize with other smokers. Drinking alcohol facilitated smoking to get drunk faster or better, and to be part of drinking occasions and members, which increased the amount of smoking. The young adults were sensitive to social atmosphere and thus conscious about their smoking in public places under the current policies. Whilst they supported the policy that separates smoking areas not to harm non-smokers, they wanted their choice to smoke to be respected as well. Those who perceived quitting smoking to be easy tended to think that they might smoke again but then could quit again easily. High accessibility to cigarettes in the community was a challenge for quitting smoking.

Parental smoking, solicitation to smoke among friends and colleagues, and a high availability and accessibility to cigarettes in the community are focal topics for tobacco free generation. Clear and rational explanation of tobacco policy and environmental approaches would facilitate controlling tobacco use of young population. This work was supported by the Research Program funded by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(2016P3500300).

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