Smoking behaviors and barriers to quit in Spanish young adults: Implications for the design of smoking cessation digital health interventions
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University of Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Spain
Publication date: 2023-10-08
Corresponding author
Carmela Martínez Vispo   

University of Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Spain
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2023;9(Supplement 2):A58
Smoking remains the leading preventable cause of death worldwide. Effective smoking cessation treatments are currently available, and increasing literature suggests that digital interventions offer promising results. A high percentage of young adults smoke, a population group that underuse evidence-based interventions to quit. Young adults suppose a relevant public health target as early cessation can reduce the long-term harms of smoking.

This study aims to describe the smoking characteristics of young adult smokers, including perceived barriers to quitting, and examine their opinion on digital interventions for smoking cessation.

An ad hoc questionnaire was used to collect sociodemographic and smoking-related variables, including tobacco products used (i.e., rolled tobacco), tobacco dependence, past quit attempts, barriers to quitting and seeking specialized support, and opinions and perceived barriers towards digital interventions to quit. The survey was conducted in a sample of 94 daily smokers aged 18-25 years (61.7% female).

Results showed that most participants used rolled tobacco (73.4%), conventional cigarettes (58.5%), or a combination of both (29.8%). In addition, participants had a low tobacco dependence level and smoked an average of nine cigarettes per day. The most commonly mentioned barriers to quitting included struggling with cravings, losing a strategy to cope with anxiety and having friends that smoke. The most relevant barriers to seeking professional support to quit were admitting they needed help, lack of time and having to go to the quitting service. Only 4.6% of the sample had used digital tools to quit smoking, citing perceived utility and the absence of professional guidance as the main barriers.

Findings have clinical implications, highlighting the need to develop digital smoking cessation interventions tailored specifically to young smokers. This could increase the likelihood of early smoking cessation, thereby preventing the persistence of smoking in later adulthood and the subsequent health consequences.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
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