“It’s beyond the pale to smoke hookah”: perceptions of Iranian adolescents on social unacceptability of hookah smoking


Hookah smoking, adolescents, high school students, social unacceptability, qualitative


The present study aimed to explore the perceptions of high school students on Social Unacceptability (Arabic/Persian term = Qabahat) of Hookah Smoking (SUoHS). In this qualitative study, 31 student adolescents in Tabriz, Iran, were invited to participate in semi-structured individual interviews and focus group discussions (FGDs). Data were analyzed using interpretative thematic analysis. The unacceptability of hookah smoking was viewed at the “disreputability of hookah smoking and hookah smokers”. The students also explained SUoHS in the “incivility of hookah smoking and smokers in the society”, “disrespectfulness of hookah smokers and their families”, and “the consequences of hookah smoking”. The SUoHS is rooted from the social values and norms within communities. To decrease hookah smoking levels among adolescents, school health nursing interventions should be tailored to bridge the gap between their recognition of SUoHS and subsequent behavior change through creating group dynamics highlighting the domains of social unacceptability of the behavior.



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