Experiences of Tobacco Use among Chinese Individuals with Schizophrenia in Community-Based Residential Settings: A Qualitative Study

Yim Wah Mak, Vico C.L. Chiang, Alice Yuen Loke

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Although there is a high prevalence of smoking among individuals with schizophrenia, no previous attempt has been made to explore experiences of tobacco use and cessation within a Chinese sample of this population. A qualitative descriptive study was conducted to explore through the use of individual and semi-structured interviews the experiences of tobacco use and quitting in a sample Chinese population with schizophrenia. Twenty-three eligible participants with schizophrenia who currently smoke were recruited from three community residential mental health service settings. Four main themes representing the experiences of the participants were uncovered in this study: (1) smoking and illness; (2) environment and culture; (3) reasons for smoking; and (4) beliefs about cessation methods. The findings indicated that the participants considered the disease to be far more harmful than smoking, and perceived many benefits to smoking. Although some thought of quitting at times, most gave up the idea or failed to quit due to internal factors such as disease-related suffering, the use of an avoidance coping strategy, and a lack of cessation support. The most notable finding concerns the use of avoidance coping by the participants, who relied on smoking as a way to avoid the suffering brought about by the disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article number321
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • Qualitative study
  • Schizophrenia
  • Smoking cessation
  • Tobacco use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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