Young Adult’s Lived Experiences and Perceptions of a New Alternative to Smoking: A Qualitative Study
Smoking electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) is currently a common social behaviour worldwide. Malaysia has the second highest smoking rate in the world after the United States. Some countries have positively embraced e-cigarettes to combat traditional cigarettes. However, most Asian countries, including Malaysia, are not sure whether to endorse or ban e-cigarette smoking. Therefore, this study aims to investigate the prevailing meanings and motives for e-cigarette smoking. An interpretive phenomenological approach was used to understand the lived experiences and underlying perceptions of e-cigarette smoking. A total 45 participants from the young adult age group (18-25) were selected and interviewed individually with open-ended questions until saturation was reached. Seven themes emerged from the analysis, namely public acceptance, social status and peer influence, healthy alternatives, smoking cessation tools, individual empowerment, flavourful attractions, and ease of availability. The themes identified provide a good understanding of this phenomenon for effective management of e-cigarette sales and general public health policy planning.
Keywords:E-Cigarette, Harm Reduction, Empowerment, Cessation Tool
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