Social Disapproval and Reasons Behind Tobacco Use as Perceived by Pregnant Women (Pages 67-72)

Amel Fayed1,2, Ahmed Mandil2,3, Rasmieh A. Alzeidan4, Samia Ahmad4 , Ghadeer Al-Shaikh5 and Haifa Wahabi4

1King Saud Ben Abdel Aziz University for Health Sciences. College of Sciences and Health Professionals Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; 2High Institute of Public Health, Alexandria University, Egypt; 3Department of Family and Community Medicine, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; 4Sheikh Bahmdan Chair of Evidence-Based Healthcare and Knowledge Translation, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; 5Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14205/2309-4400.2013.01.02.4

Abstract: Background: Societal perception of smokers, and reasons behind them smoking both reflect acceptance or rejection of smoking behaviour and can reframe tobacco prevention and/or cessation programs to be more effective in tobacco control. This study aimed at targeting the social unacceptability of smoking amongst Saudi females and considering their opinions of the reasons behind smoking amongst both genders.

Methodology: We followed a cross-sectional approach towards data collection from a sample of pregnant women seen at the antenatal clinic at King Khalid University hospital, irrespective of their gestational age. The data was collected using a pretested, anonymous, self administered questionnaire.

Results: 1208 pregnant women were included in our study. Their mean age was 29 + 6 years, and their mean gestational age was 29.6 + 7 weeks. Most women (88%) either agreed or strongly agreed that exposure to smoking may harm the foetus, and only 3.5% of them would accept to smoke if they were offered a cigarette by their husbands. The top reported reasons for smoking amongst males and females were: association with tobacco using friend, reduction of stress, and manifestation of masculinity or gender equality. Pregnant women were not impressed by smokers, and as less than 1% of them considered them attractive and about 25% of them believed male and female smokers feel insecure.

Conclusion: The social disapproval of smoking behaviour in this study was prominent especially towards female smokers. Reasons behind smoking are still blamed on friends, family members and peer pressure. Such results are important in shaping tobacco prevention and control programs

Keywords: Social disapproval, social unacceptability, tobacco use, smoking, pregnant women, Saudi Arabia.