Young People’s Perceptions of Smoking Behaviour and the Implications for Social and Health Workers

Linda Homan, Emma Regan

Medailon autorů:

Linda Homan is a Senior Lecturer in Social Work, at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK. This post involves teaching and assessing social work students. A particular research interest is to address the inequalities faced by those living in poorer socioeconomic areas.

Emma Regan is Public Health Coordinator for Colchester Borough Council (Essex, UK). This post is designed to help embed Public Health within the borough council by implementing a series of projects and initiatives to work collaboratively on giving children and families a good start in life.


OBJECTIVES: Addiction to smoking has serious health implications, particularly as addiction may lead to a lifetime smoking. Social workers work with socially deprived clients and therefore can have a role in assisting in health behaviour choices. THEORETICAL BASE: Social constructionism – what constitutes young people’s need to smoke. METHODS: To understandwhy young people smoke qualitative phase one interviews (n=40) took place in six deprived areas of Essex, in England. A quantitative questionnaire was sent to 14 districts of Essex. Comparison was made between Higher deprivation (HD) and Lower Deprivation (LD) areas (Total n=1711). Ethical approval was via Anglia Ruskin University Faculty Research Ethics Panel, and Essex, Thurrock and Southend local authorities. OUTCOMES: Phase One: The phase one results demonstrate that young people who smoke are mainly stimulated by stress (14 of the 40 participants). Phase Two: Found that 70.1% of high deprived area (HD) and 62.6% of less deprived area (LD) Smokers identified ‘stress’ as the most significant reason for smoking. IMPLICATIONS FOR SOCIAL WORK: Social workers can help people understand their feelings of needing to smoke cigarettes / smoking behaviour, and to help them manage stress without the need to smoke.

Klíčová slova:

young people, smoking, stress, addiction, boredom, poverty

s. 21–33