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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1166; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111166

Views and Preferences for Nicotine Products as an Alternative to Smoking: A Focus Group Study of People Living with Mental Disorders

1
Policy and Epidemiology Group, Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research, Locked Bag 500, Archerfield, QLD 4018, Australia
2
School of Public Health, The University of Queensland, Herston, QLD 4006, Australia
3
School of Dentistry, The University of Queensland, Herston, QLD 4006, Australia
4
UQ Centre for Clinical Research, The University of Queensland, Herston, QLD 4006, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Linda Bauld and Rosemary Hiscock
Received: 17 October 2016 / Revised: 12 November 2016 / Accepted: 14 November 2016 / Published: 23 November 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tobacco Control and Priority Groups)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [317 KB, uploaded 23 November 2016]

Abstract

Aims and Background: People living with mental disorders experience a disproportionately higher burden of tobacco-related disease than the general population. Long-term substitution with less harmful nicotine products could reduce the tobacco-related harm among this population. This study investigated the views and preferences of people with mental health disorders about different nicotine products and their use as long-term substitutes for cigarettes. Methods: Semi-structured focus group discussion followed by a brief questionnaire. The discussion transcripts were analysed for content and themes and quantitative data summarised with descriptive statistics. Results: Twenty-nine participants took part in four focus groups. Vaping devices were the most acceptable nicotine products discussed; however preferences for nicotine products were individual and varied along aesthetic, pragmatic, sensory and symbolic dimensions. The concept of tobacco harm reduction was unfamiliar to participants, however they generally agreed with the logic of replacing cigarettes with less harmful nicotine products. Barriers to activating tobacco harm reduction included the symbolism of smoking and quitting; the importance placed on health; the consumer appeal of alternatives; and cost implications. Discussion and Conclusions: Engaging this population in tobacco harm reduction options will require communication that challenges black and white thinking (a conceptual framework in which smoking cigarettes or quitting all nicotine are the only legitimate options) as in practice this serves to support the continuance of smoking. Consumers should be encouraged to trial a range of nicotine products to find the most acceptable alternative to smoking that reduces health harms. Providing incentives to switch to nicotine products could help overcome barriers to using less harmful nicotine products among mental health consumers. View Full-Text
Keywords: nicotine products; tobacco harm reduction; people living with mental illness; qualitative research; consumer preferences nicotine products; tobacco harm reduction; people living with mental illness; qualitative research; consumer preferences
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Meurk, C.; Ford, P.; Sharma, R.; Fitzgerald, L.; Gartner, C. Views and Preferences for Nicotine Products as an Alternative to Smoking: A Focus Group Study of People Living with Mental Disorders. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 1166.

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