Late adolescent female smoking, an exploration of smoking patterns and processes

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Seguire, M. Marilyn
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Although there have been intense efforts to reduce the prevalence of cigarette smoking in the past three decades, smoking continues to be a critical public health issue. An area of timely concern cited in the research literature is the increasing number of young women who are turning to smoking. Gender specific research examining factors influencing smoking initiation, maintenance, and cessation behaviors is lacki g. In particular, late adolescent female smoking behaviors are not evident in the literature. The purpose of this study was to explore the smoking patterns and processes of late adolescent females and to explore factors which may or may not be helpful to assist them to quit smoking. A qualitative ethnographic approach was used to uncover twenty-five adolescent girls' own perceptions regarding their smoking behavior. Data were collected from two sources; tape recorded semi structured interviews, and a questionnaire. Items for the questionnaire were derived from three sources: (1) modification of the Manitoba Youth Smoking Survey, (2) the Stages of Change model, and (3) modification of questions from the Fagerstrom Nicotine Tolerance Scale. Qualitative analysis revealed four major categories: the start story, the smoking story, the quit story, and looking to the future. Although many of the findings were congruent with evidence in the literature, there are concerns which emerged reflecting the purposive nature of smoking in late adolescent girls, as well as their tenuous efforts to quit smoking. Findings reflect the need for further research, education and nursing practice efforts to facilitate a holistic approach to assist young women to become smoke free.