Towards a better understanding of factors affecting smoking uptake among Saudi male adolescents: A qualitative study

Mohammed Mutaz*, Nanne de Vries, Kei L. Cheung, Hein de Vries

*Corresponding author for this work

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INTRODUCTION An increased smoking uptake by Saudi male adolescents and a lack of data about its determinants emphasize the need for a better understanding of factors leading to the onset of smoking and identifying ways to prevent it. The aim of this qualitative study is to explore adolescents' views on smoking and their opinions about a smoking prevention program.

METHODS A total of 103 school-going adolescents, aged 12-16 years, were purposely selected from grades seven, eight and nine from nine schools in Taif in Saudi Arabia. They were interviewed in 11 focus group discussions; five groups were held for smokers and six for non-smokers. An interview scheme was developed based on the I-Change Model, a model used for understanding smoking onset and prevention. We used QDA Lite version 2:0 software for data analysis.

RESULTS Most of the participants agreed on the importance of social influences as determining factors to start smoking. The presence of smoking friend(s) and family member(s), especially the father, were mentioned. Factors such as having extra pocket money, absence of alternatives, showing off, to be seen as western, to be seen as an adult and the good taste of cigarettes were also mentioned as beliefs associated with smoking. Adolescents indicated to have low confidence not to smoke under peer pressure, suggesting self-efficacy problems. Intentions to smoke were also often mentioned. Almost all participants agreed that an interactive approach is optimal for an effective smoking prevention program.

CONCLUSIONS Determinants of smoking seem to be very similar to those outlined by previous studies. A smoking prevention program for Saudi adolescents should address how to cope with social pressure to smoke, the advantages connected with smoking, and how to increase self-efficacy. Information should be presented in an interactive rather than static way.

Original languageEnglish
Article number29
Number of pages10
JournalTobacco prevention & cessation
Publication statusPublished - May 2020


  • adolescents
  • Saudi Arabia
  • qualitative study
  • smoking prevention
  • smoking determinants
  • I-Change Model

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