Online Program

Smoking stigma in partying young adults

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Cati Brown, PhD, Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, UCSF, San Francisco, CA
Pamela Ling, MD, MPH, Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Objective: Researchers characterize smoking stigma as a simultaneous tool for and impediment to public health. Stigma is defined as stereotyping and discrimination related to behavior, such as smoking cigarettes. Little is known about smoking stigma and its impact on young adults in social contexts like bars and clubs. Methods: Novel stigma assessment items were developed measuring secrecy and guilt based on validated stigma scales. We collected survey (n=205) and focus-group data in New York City, Nashville, Tucson, San Francisco and Los Angeles in 2012 from young adults (age 18-30) recruited from bars. Focus groups were coded and qualitatively assessed for stigma-related themes. Results: Over half (51.2%) of respondents reported they don't feeling guilty smoking and don't keep their smoking a secret. Smoking stigma was lowest in Tuscon (guilt=2.08, secrecy=1.80), and highest for LA (guilt=2.25, secrecy=2.63). Smokers perceived less stigma than nonsmokers, as did individuals living in houses with fewer smoking restrictions. In focus groups, participants reported a “huge separation” between smokers, perceived to be young, accepting bar-goers, and non-smokers. Participants also kept their smoking a secret from individuals highly invested in their health – doctors and family. Bar environments, location, smoker identity and stigma interacted in complex ways, affecting when and where participants smoked or identified themselves as smokers. Discussion: Smoking stigma influences who young people disclose their smoking status to, and cities with longstanding tobacco control initiatives may engender higher stigma. Public health campaigns and policies that increase smoker stigma may decrease disclosure of smoking among young adults.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe two measures of smoking stigma. Describe young adult bar goers’ self-reported experience of smoking stigma. Discuss the social context of smoking stigma for partying young adults.

Keyword(s): Tobacco, Youth

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been investigating tobacco-related stigma under the direction of Pam Ling and Janine Cataldo for over a year. Dr. Cataldo and I have a paper on lung cancer and stigma accepted at Nursing Inquiry. Smoking stigma, as a precursor to lung cancer stigma is of interest.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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