The Biopolitics of Smoking Cessation in Turkey
More details
Hide details
Sabancı University, Istanbul, Turkey
Submission date: 2017-05-10
Acceptance date: 2017-05-10
Publication date: 2017-05-25
Corresponding author
Ayşecan Terzioğlu   

Sabancı University, Istanbul, Turkey, Üniversite Caddesi 27 Tuzla, 34956 Istanbul, Turkey
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2017;3(May Supplement):55
Smoking is increasingly recognized as an important threat to women’s health in low and middle-income countries where the epidemic is growing. In Turkey, the national prevalence of smoking among women is 13%, although it is likely that it is higher in urban areas and among young women. While Turkey has been very active in tobacco control activities, few qualitative studies have explored the meaning of smoking to women, the perceived utilities and benefits of smoking, and women’s attitudes toward quitting. In this talk, we draw on analysis of interview data to explore reasons why women in Turkey smoke and discuss an urgent need to incorporate gendered approaches to cessation activities.

Material and Methods:
Fifteen semi-structured interviews were conducted with women with different socio-economic and demographic backgrounds. The interviews focused on the reasons the women give for starting and continuing smoking, and their efforts to quit it.

The women cited stress and anxiety related with their schoolwork and their future plans as the main reason for starting to smoke. Problems in their job and personal relationships are also cited as reasons to start smoking. Women often quit smoking when they try to conceive or they are pregnant, and do not start again until they stop breastfeeding. Almost all women mentioned that they tried to quit smoking, but could not do it for good, since the stress inducers remained in their life.

Female tobacco use poses serious threats to women’s health, maternal and child health. Educational programs for health professionals in Turkey will need to incorporate training on the gender specific health harms of smoking and will require gender sensitive skills training to promote cessation.

Funding was provided by Global Bridges, Mayo Clinic, U.S.

Journals System - logo
Scroll to top