Wallace-Williams, Donna Marie (2017) Consumption practices, conflict resolution and behaviour change in the UK smokers market. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

In the UK tobacco denormalisation strategies (i.e. indoor smoking ban and display
ban), have been acknowledged as important strategies to encourage behaviour
change in smokers, through quitting or at least minimising it. This study examines the
impact of these strategies on smokers and their behaviours in retail establishments
and shared consumption spaces. It extends the work of Festinger (1957) on
dissonance manifestation and behaviour, and of Michie and West’s (2011) concept of
behaviour change interventions, through the examination of smokers as consumers.
The strategy of ‘denormalising’ tobacco use has become one of the cornerstones of
the global tobacco control movement. In the UK, tobacco denormalisation was born
out of a need to protect non-smokers from the dangers of second-hand smoke and
curb increasing numbers of deaths in smokers. These policies are overseen by the
WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), to which the UK
became a signatory in 2002. Although the UK has strict tobacco denormalisation
strategies and leads the way in tobacco control in Europe, there remains a dearth of
UK-centric qualitative studies from a consumer standpoint exploring smoking
behaviours and the impact of tobacco denormalisation.
An interpretivist theoretical perspective and the phenomenology research design is
adopted for this study, drawing on qualitative data using interviews with 25 individuals
(current smokers, ex-smokers, and non-smokers, retailers and industry personnel),
living and working in and around the town of Huddersfield and the region of West
Yorkshire, as well as three separate participant observations held in a stop-smoking
clinic in the town of Huddersfield. Data was analysed using the strategy recommended
by Miles & Huberman (1984), aided using NVIVO 11 data analysis software to identify
emergent themes recommended by Bazeley & Jackson (2013).
Results of this study’s analysis of data suggest that tobacco control strategies have
overseen behaviour change in smoking participants during purchase and
consumption, and whilst in shared consumption spaces but not in the way intended.
Smoking participants continue to adopt, purchase and consume tobacco products in
the face of mounting social and cultural opposition. However, behaviour change is
manifested in ways they circumvent “barriers to purchase, consumption and use”. For
example, making friends with other smokers whilst standing outside to smoke,
adopting new or alternative products such as e-cigarettes, engaging in brand switching
and bulk buying, becoming brand knowledgeable and more informed about location of
products stored in gantries, but also engaging in compensatory health behaviours to
justify smoking continuation. The behaviour of smoking participants suggests
observation and rejection of tobacco control strategies occur in parallel (i.e. take place
at the same time). Findings therefore raise questions about the ethical and practical
extent to which tobacco denormalisation strategies influence and encourage smokers
to change behaviours.

FINAL THESIS (3).pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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