‘Passed and cleared’ – Former tobacco smokers’ experience in quitting smoking
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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The literature contains many reports on cigarette smokers and smoking cessation, but there are fewer qualitative studies on smokers’ and ex-smokers’ experiences with smoking cessation and health care professionals. The aim of the present study was to give voice to ex-smokers’ own experiences with smoking cessation through the health care system. The study collected data from focus group interviews with 28 informants divided into four groups. Results from this study do not point to one particular reason for successful smoking cessation, but instead to the combination of pressures from several factors. The informants seem to have reached a point where external pressure made them receptive to: the fear of diseases, legislation, taking advice from health care personnel, views of children and grandchildren and providing a new identity as ex-smoker. Factors that helped to quit were: recent efforts to make it difficult to smoke in Norway, encouragement to seek help to change their tobacco habits, smoking cessation programmes that are integrated into health care practice, health professionals who demonstrate sensitivity and genuine interest during their meetings with smokers. Health professionals in specialized health care must be made aware of their role as the first important step in their patients’ road to quitting smoking.