The Meanings and Context of Smoking among Mexican University Students

Thrasher, James F.; & Bentley, Margaret E. (2006). The Meanings and Context of Smoking among Mexican University Students. Public Health Reports, 121(5), 578-85. PMCID: PMC1564456

Thrasher, James F.; & Bentley, Margaret E. (2006). The Meanings and Context of Smoking among Mexican University Students. Public Health Reports, 121(5), 578-85. PMCID: PMC1564456

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OBJECTIVES: We sought to describe the dominant social contexts and meanings of smoking among Mexican university students. METHODS: Structured observations were made and individual in-depth interviews were conducted with 43 university students who were at five levels of involvement with smoking (i.e., never smoker; ex-smoker; experimenter; regular smoker; frequent smoker). Content analysis of interview transcripts was used to distill the primary settings and themes that students associated with smoking. RESULTS: Outside their homes and away from the purview of their parents, the environments that students frequented were permissive of smoking, supporting their perceptions of smoking behavior, cigarettes, and the tobacco industry as normal and socially acceptable. Cigarette smoking was a highly social practice, with students practicing simultaneous smoking and cigarette sharing to underscore bonds with others. Moreover, the leisure times and places in which students smoked appeared to bolster their perceptions of cigarettes as offering them pleasurable relaxation and escape from boredom and conflictual social relations. All students believed that smoking was addictive and that second-hand smoke was dangerous to non-smokers. The short-term negative outcomes of smoking appeared more salient to students than either the longer-term health outcomes of smoking or the practices of the tobacco industry. CONCLUSIONS: The meanings and context of smoking were comparable to those found among youth in other parts of the world. Successful tobacco prevention messages and policies to prevent smoking in other youth populations may also succeed among Mexican youth.



Fertility, Families, and Children
Life Course Perspectives


JOUR



Thrasher, James F.
Bentley, Margaret E.



2006


Public Health Reports

121

5

578-85








PMC1564456


3019

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