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Adolescents struggled to maintain a sense of control over their cigarette smoking through a 4 phase cycle

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Q What is the process by which adolescents who smoke come to understand that their smoking is a problem and subsequently limit tobacco use by cutting down or quitting altogether?


Qualitative study using grounded theory.


Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada


35 adolescents (mean age 16 y, 51% girls) with varied smoking experiences contributed to the initial dataset that examined youth transitions from experimental to regular smoking. The initial dataset was supplemented by follow up interviews with 12 (mean age 18 y, 75% boys) of the original 35 participants and subsequently reanalysed for this study. An additional 11 adolescents (mean age 16 y, 66% girls) participated in the validation process.


The study began as a secondary analysis of 35 interviews with adolescents with varied experiences of smoking. 1 year later, follow up interviews were done with 12 original participants. All interviews were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim. Participants’ experiences with “stopping” and “quitting” smoking were examined using grounded theory. Emerging themes were validated in 3 interviews and 2 focus groups with 11 additional adolescents.


Participants struggled to maintain a sense of control in relation …

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  • For correspondence: Dr J L Johnson, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

  • Sources of funding: National Cancer Institute of Canada and Canadian Cancer Society.