J Med Assoc Thai 2013; 96 (12):55

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The Life Experiences of Thai Women and Smoking: A Phenomenological Study
Thiangtham W Mail, Kalampakorn S , Intharanate T , Sornsin W

Objective: Exploring and understanding the live experiences of women smokers as well as the conditions and the family/social context of Thai society.
Material and Method: A phenomenological approach was used and conducted from July 2011 to April 2012. The informants were 25 Thai women smokers in Bangkok and peripheral areas. Data were collected from focus group discussions and indepth interviews and was analyzed using Diekelmann and Love thematic analysis.
Results: The informants ranged in age from 14 to 66 years. The highest education level was a Vocational Certificate and the lowest level was a primary education (Grade 4). The youngest began smoking at 12 years. The average duration of smoking behavior was 22.3 years; the longest of smoking duration was 52 years. They smoked 2.4 packs of cigarettes per day on average, 6 packs per day at the maximum. Within a family setting, the highest number of people smoking and living in the same household was 13 persons. Five themes were identified as follows: 1) the starting point of smoking:-the family environment triggers smoking; 2) the meaning of smoking:-smoking means ‘cigarettes are like friends’; 3) femininity and smoking:-smoking is an individual right and is not illegal; 4) smoking and health:-smoking-health linkage is not an immediate issue as the informants did not suffer from any serious illness; and 5) view on/intention to stop smoking:-the permanent cessation of smoking was not possible due to the current environment in which their friends or family members still smoked, and because some also chose to reduce their stress by smoking.
Conclusion: Family environment and peer group influenced the informants smoking behavior. Children see their grandmother, mother or elder sister smoke, so smoking is perceived as normal behavior among women as well. Most of them had chosen cigarette smoking as a way to relieve themselves from stressful environments.

Keywords: Phenomenological study, Women, Smoking


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