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Table 1 Example questions and probes used in focus groups

From: Smokers’ beliefs about the tobacco control potential of “a gene for smoking”: a focus group study

  Pre-video questions and probes
1. There are lots of reasons why people smoke cigarettes. What is your MAIN reason for smoking?
    • PROBE: “What have you heard about nicotine in relation to cigarettes”
2. What comes to mind when you hear the words “genes” or “genetics”?
3. Sometimes you hear people talking about a genetic risk for a disease. What do you think “genetic risk” means? What does it mean for a person to have “genetic risk”?
    • PROBE: If I had a genetic risk for cancer, does that mean I’d definitely get it?
    • PROBE: What might make one person with a genetic risk more likely to get sick than another person with a genetic risk?
    • PROBE: Thinking about the term “genetic risk,” in your opinion, what does it have to do with smoking?
  Post-video questions and probes
4. What do you think of the video?
    • PROBE: Was there something that really made an impression?
    • PROBE: What types of feelings came up as you were watching the clip?
5. When some people hear that genetics and nicotine addiction are related, they do not believe this is true. On the other hand, there are other folks who do believe that genetics and nicotine addiction are linked. What do you believe?
    • PROBE: How important or relevant is this information for you personally?
    • PROBE: How do the concepts presented in the video relate to your personal experiences?
6. If a smoker has this gene, will they definitely not be able to quit?
    • PROBE: What role does willpower have in quitting smoking when someone has a gene for nicotine addiction?
    • PROBE: If you knew you had the gene, would you still try to quit?
7. What could be some of the benefits of people knowing that there’s a genetic basis for nicotine addiction?
    • PROBE: Could you see this information being used to help motivate someone to quit?
    • PROBE: What about being used to discourage people from starting to smoke?
8 What could be some disadvantages, or drawbacks of knowing about this information?
    • PROBE: Would YOU want to know whether or not you have the gene?
    • PROBE: How might this information change people’s opinions of smokers?
    • PROBE: How much should people be concerned about discrimination as the result of this news story and stories like it?
  1. Note: Probes only asked if the answers to the main questions did not address topic of interest.