NEXUS Spring Institute

Using dialogic knowledge exchange to address tobacco use among marginalized youth Johnson, Joy; Haines, Rebecca; Repta, Robin; Frohlich, Katherine


Research shows that tobacco smoking rates are increasingly socially differentiated; for example, socially marginalized youth are more likely to smoke cigarettes than their well-off peers. To reach marginalized youth, tobacco control practitioners need to use reflexive approaches that account for the social context of tobacco use. However, previous research has revealed that tobacco control practitioners are often unsure of how to address the needs of socially marginalized youth, as the majority of research on youth smoking is typically limited to the physiological aspects of nicotine addiction and peer-based social pressures. To address this knowledge-practice gap, the project “New Approaches to Addressing Social Inequalities in Tobacco Use Among Youth“ aims to pilot creative knowledge exchange methods to encourage reflexivity among tobacco control practitioners and awareness of why marginalized youth are more likely to smoke. Our presentation will describe our attempts to enhance conventional qualitative methods with dialogical activities to facilitate exchange between practitioners and youth smokers. Specifically, we discuss our experiences conducting 27 focus group discussions with youth in Montreal and Vancouver, and 25 one-to-one interviews with practitioners in both cities. Next, we offer a glimpse of our ongoing experiences creating a video presentation based on materials from our focus groups with youth, and our plans to share this video with practitioners at an ‘exchange day’ as an ethical and practical means of promoting discussion between practitioners and youth. The goal of these dialogical activities is to enhance practitioners’ understanding of how youth smoking behaviour is shaped by aspects of the social context, including gender, poverty and disadvantage, so that future tobacco interventions can better address the needs and experiences of marginalized youth.

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