Paper long abstract:
Despite targeted public health interventions throughout England in health care, community and school settings, an estimated 6% of young people aged 11-15 years are regular smokers, with girls more likely to smoke than boys. Drawing on focus group and some observational data with 85 young people aged 12 - 15 years of age living in the Midlands, England, we explore how young people access cigarettes and how and why they 'became smokers'. What is evident from their accounts is the importance of social networks to obtain cigarettes, not only through gifts and resale, but through social support and the transmission of knowledge to support proxy sales and direct sales in shops. However there was also an undercurrent of morality in the accounts that shapes access to cigarettes and starting smoking, suggesting new ways of conceptualising young people's attitudes that could usefully inform the development of future interventions to reduce smoking uptake.
Tobacco and the anthropological imagination