Understanding Socio-cultural Influences on Smoking among Older Greek-Australian Smokers Aged 50 and over: Facilitators or Barriers? A Qualitative Study

Masoud Mohammadnezhad, George Tsourtos, Carlene Wilson, Julie Ratcliffe, Paul Ward

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    6 Citations (Scopus)


    Smokers of all ages can benefit by quitting, but many smokers continue to smoke. Older Greek-Australian smokers, one of the largest ethnic groups in Australia, have higher rates of smoking than other groups of older Australians. This qualitative study aimed to explore older Greek-Australians’ views about socio-cultural influences on their smoking. A snowball sampling technique was used to identify twenty Greek–Australian smokers (12 males and eight females), aged ≥ 50 years. They were recruited through the Greek Orthodox Community Center of South Australia (GOCSA). Qualitative data were collected using semi-structured face-to-face interviews. The audio-taped interviews were translated and transcribed, and then analysed using content analysis. Results suggested that smoking was considered as the “norm” by older Greek-Australian smokers. There were four groups embedded in the participants’ social networks that were reported to be important in relation to either encouraging smoking or, smoking abstinence. These support groups included: family members, friends, the Greek community, and physicians. Smokers’ family members (brothers) and friends were identified as facilitators of smoking whereas non-smoker family members (children and spouses) were reported as providing barriers to smoking. Different approaches were used by supporter groups to assist smokers to quit smoking—both planned and unplanned. Knowledge, planning of social and cultural supports, and addressing barriers to smoking cessation are a important part of health planning for older Greek-Australians. Social norms, including those arising from social interactions, and predisposing traits can influence smoking behaviour. Addressing the specific barriers to smoking cessation of older Greek-Australians is critical to addressing the risk for chronic disease in this group.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2718-2734
    Number of pages17
    JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2015


    • Barriers
    • Facilitator
    • Greek-Australians
    • Older people
    • Smoking cessation
    • Socio-cultural influences


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