Smoking Identity

1026 Words5 Pages

Smoking affects a large number of persons, in particular young women. The more smoking is integrated into the construct of identity, the more difficult it is to quit. However, research has focused much less on the identity issue than on examining other factors that influence smoking. Through a qualitative lens and from a social constructionist perspective, thematic analysis was applied to the accounts of three young women (two smokers and a non-smoker) based on transcripts from a focus group. The purpose was to analyse the construct of identity in relation to smoking as a way of bringing useful insights for future research. Four common themes were identified, which reveal the key features of individuality, independence, rationality and self-control, and suggest that smoking may be part of a broader need to affirm a certain identity. 1. Introduction

The negative effects of smoking on health are well established (for a review, see for instance Das, 2003). Studies also show that early smoking is associated with significant health risks such as lung cancer (Doll & Peto, 1981), heart disease (Royal College of Physicians, 1992) and severe mortality (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, 2003).

There is a lot of research on the physiological and psychological aspects of smoking in young people, with a variety of factors identified in both qualitative and quantitative studies: biological factors, in particular nicotine addiction, to which young people are more
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