To smoke or not to smoke? Qualitative research into ways to prevent smoking among young people

Anne Puuronen

(In Finnish: Ei pala, palaa, ei pala… Laadullinen tutkimus nuorten tupakoimattomuuden edistämisestä)

In what ways do public health campaigns about the dangers of smoking reach their target audiences? How are young people isolated as specific targets in the current jungle of methods and messages about smoking prevention? What role can experimentation play in stopping young people from taking up smoking? And what about the value of the social aspects of smoking? How best should we support young people’s strong desire to give up smoking and what elements should a learning environment geared towards preventing smoking comprise?

The book examines and discusses examples of the coming together of anti-smoking campaigns and situations in which young people have to make choices about their health. It explores the issue of young people’s inexperience, their desire to experiment, and looks at smoking and attempts to give up smoking as a playing field in which the health risks are already widely known. In the book young people are asked to think back, to recall the anti-smoking campaigns they have experienced and to think about ways in which the campaigns impacted on their behaviour regarding their own health. The book also assesses pervading attitudes to smoking risks and professional perspectives on the prevention of smoking among young people at schools and other educational institutions.

In this book, attempts to further the prevention of smoking among young people are examined from the perspectives of health awareness, linguistics, youth research, research into communications and advertising and discourse analysis, as well as within the framework of research discourses aimed at increasing social capital and wellbeing in the working environment. The material used in this book consists of young people’s memories of anti-smoking campaigns, examples from such campaign materials, and interviews with a number of experts working in the different fields of smoking prevention.

The aim of the work is to further qualitative research into smoking addiction. The author hopes that the book will be read as a textbook, not only by those directly involved in medical and health science, but also within the fields of cultural and social sciences. The book will serve as a tool for school and student health advisers, teachers and other professionals working with health organisations. It is also suitable for parents interested in the various ways in which young people confront the issue of smoking.