Study IDs the Rationalizations of Social Smokers

Social smokers still view themselves as nonsmokers, but conform to peer behavior

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Social smokers do not see themselves as addicted smokers and often smoke in response to group norms or because of excessive alcohol consumption, according to research published online Feb. 20 in Tobacco Control.

Janet Hoek, Ph.D., from the University of Otago in New Zealand, and colleagues interviewed 13 young adult social smokers (aged 19 to 25 years) and used thematic analysis to interpret the transcripts.

The researchers identified four key themes in social smoking among young people: demarcation strategies social smokers used to avoid categorizing themselves as smokers; social smoking as a tactic that ameliorates the risk of alienation; alcohol as a facilitator of social smoking; and the difficulty participants experienced in reconciling their identity as nonsmokers who smoke.

"Although social smokers regret smoking, their retrospective remorse was insufficient to promote behavior change, and environmental modifications appear more likely to promote smoke-free behaviors among social smokers," the authors write.

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