BACKGROUND: The prevalence of teenage smoking has decreased over the past decade following the implementation of the national tobacco control programme. However, the effect of the programme on smoking cessation in teenagers has not been determined.
METHODS: Twenty-eight participants (12 teenagers, 8 teachers, and 8 doctors) were interviewed using 5 in-depth interviews and 3 group discussions. Social cognitive theory (SCT) was applied as the theoretical framework. Semi-structured interview protocols were used, and thematic analysis and analytic generalisation utilising SCT were performed.
RESULTS: The current national tobacco control programme was found to be ineffective in promoting smoking cessation among teenagers. The participants attributed the ineffective campaign to the followings: inadequacy of message content, lack of exposure to the programme, and poor presentation and execution. In addition, the participants perceived the developed tobacco control policies to be a failure based on poor law enforcement, failure of retailers to comply with the law, social availability of cigarettes to teenagers, and easy availability of cheap, smuggled cigarettes. This study highlighted that the programme-related problems (environmental factors) were not the only factors contributing to its perceived ineffectiveness. The cunning behaviour of the teenagers (personal factor) and poor self-efficacy to overcome nicotine addiction (behavioural factor) were also found to hinder cessation.
CONCLUSION: Tobacco control programmes should include strategies beyond educating teenagers about smoking and restricting their access to cigarettes. Strategies to manage the cunning behaviour of teenagers and strategies to improve their self-efficacy should also be implemented. These comprehensive programmes should have a foundation in SCT, as this theory demonstrates the complex interactions among the environmental, personal, and behavioural factors that influence teenage smoking.
KEYWORDS: adolescent; health campaigns; qualitative research; tobacco cessation; tobacco smoking
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.