NIH Research Festival
Background: Smoking remains a serious public health problem in the United States and is more prevalent among less-educated young adults. Smokers who quit smoking between 24 and 35 years old could avoid many health consequences of smoking. However, less-educated young adult smokers are less likely than their more-educated counterparts to use FDA-approved cessation treatments when attempting to quit. Aim: Examine less-educated young adult smokers’ perceptions and beliefs about various cessation treatments. Methods: 75 18-29-year-old current smokers were recruited from DC-Maryland-Virginia area and attended moderated focus groups to discuss their perceptions, beliefs, and experiences with cessation treatments. Focus groups were stratified based on race/ethnicity (Non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, vs. Hispanic) and education (high school or less vs. some college). We used a thematic approach to explore beliefs and experiences pertaining to smoking cessation and cessation treatment use. Results: Many participants reported previously using nicotine replacement therapy and electronic cigarettes to quit smoking. Contrarily, few participants were aware of cessation programs (such as counseling) but once explained, had an intention to use them. Participants were likely to have heard about cessation treatments from their friends and family. Participants had no intention to use prescription medications due to side effects. However, participants agreed that using prescription medication was an effective cessation treatment. Conclusion: There is a need to promote FDA-approved cessation programs and make them fit to less-educated young adult smokers’ needs. Addressing negative perceptions about smoking cessation medications through tailored media campaigns may increase treatment use in this population.
Scientific Focus Area: Health Disparities
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