Smoking Cessation and Stress Among Teenagers

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Falkin, Gregory P. and Fryer, Craig S. and Mahadeo, Madhuvanti (2007) Smoking Cessation and Stress Among Teenagers. Qualitative Health Research, 17 (6). pp. 812-823.


The authors describe the experience of quitting smoking, focusing on the obstacles youth struggle with, based on individual interviews and focus groups with 54 teenagers in New York City. A major obstacle was the belief that people should stop smoking forever. The youth had to cope with temptation, frequent and often intense urges or cravings for cigarettes, and lack of social support from their family and friends. The young participants not only had to cope with general life stresses without being able to use cigarettes to reduce tensions but also had to contend with new stressful situations, such as friends who put them down for not smoking. In addition, the teens had to give up things that were important to them, such as friendships, during their quit attempts. The study describes how quitting can be a much more stressful experience for youth than research typically acknowledges. The authors discuss public health implications.