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Quitting smoking and experience of smoking cessation interventions among UK Bangladeshi and Pakistani adults: the views of community members and health professionals
  1. Martin White1,
  2. Judith Bush1,
  3. Joe Kai2,
  4. Raj Bhopal3,
  5. Judith Rankin1
  1. 1Public Health Research Group, School of Population and Health Sciences, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  2. 2Division of Primary Care, University of Nottingham Graduate Medical School, Derby, UK
  3. 3Division of Community Health Sciences, Public Health Sciences, University of Edinburgh Medical School, Edinburgh, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor M White
 Public Health Research Group, School of Population and Health Sciences, University of Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4HH, UK; martin.white{at}


Objective: To explore attitudes to quitting smoking and experience of smoking cessation among Bangladeshi and Pakistani ethnic minority communities.

Design: Qualitative study using community participatory methods, purposeful sampling, interviews and focus groups, and a grounded approach to data generation and analysis.

Setting: Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, 2000–2002.

Participants: 53 men and 20 women aged 18–80 years, including smokers, former smokers, and smokers’ relatives, from the Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities; and eight health professionals working with these communities.

Results: Motivation to quit was high but most attempts had failed. “Willpower” was the most common approach to quitting. For some, the holy month of Ramadan was used as an incentive, however few had been successful in quitting. Perceived barriers to success included being tempted by others, everyday stresses, and withdrawal symptoms. Few participants had sought advice from health services, or received cessation aids, such as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) or buproprion. Family doctors were not viewed as accessible sources of advice on quitting. Health professionals and community members identified common barriers to accessing effective smoking cessation, including: language, religion and culture; negative attitudes to services; and lack of time and resources for professionals to develop necessary skills.

Conclusions: High levels of motivation do not seem to be matched by effective interventions or successful attempts to quit smoking among Bangladeshi and Pakistani adults in the UK. There is a need to adapt and test effective smoking cessation interventions to make them culturally acceptable to ethnic minority communities. UK tobacco control policies need to give special attention to the needs of ethnic minority groups.

  • smoking cessation
  • qualitative research
  • South Asian
  • Pakistani
  • Bangladeshi

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  • Funding: Cancer Research UK and the Department of Health. The guarantors accept full responsibility for the conduct of the study, had access to the data and controlled the decision to publish. All authors are independent of the funding source.

  • Competing interests: none.

  • Ethical approval was obtained from Newcastle and North Tyneside joint local research ethics committee.

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