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Table 1 Example of data analysis

From: Smoking, smoking cessation and tobacco control in rural China: a qualitative study in Shandong Province

Data units Key concept Subtheme Major theme
“Most of smokers who are beginners are adolescents, who started to smoke mainly out of curiosity and were attracted by the ‘cool’ appearance of smoking a cigarette.” (Village leader, Pingyin county, Current smoker) Curiosity and attracted by the “cool” appearance Curiosity Why do people start to smoke?
“The reasons that I started smoking was one curiosity, two because of the many friends I had. When seeing others smoking, I could not help but smoked too.” (Village doctor, Liangshan county, current smoker) Curiosity and imitating friends   
“I don’t enjoy the smell of cigarettes. But I found that the ‘smoking pose’ with two fingers gently gripping the cigarette, inhaling and blowing out smoke rings were very attractive and charming when watching smokers doing that on TV.” (Village resident, Liangshan county, current smoker) Attracted by the “cool” appearance   
“I started smoking because of imitating others and others also tried to persuade me to smoke.” (Village leader, Junan county, former smoker) Persuasion by and imitation of others Influence of family and friends  
“I have been smoking since I was 20, influenced by the older generation in my family, many of them smoked.” (Village resident, Pingyin county, current smoker) Influenced by family members   
“I often played with older kids. They would give me one cigarette when they smoked and gradually I learned to smoke myself.” (Village resident, Liangshan county, current smoker) Influenced by older kids   
“When I was 41 years old, I had nothing to do and began to learn to smoke. I smoked for fun. I know people hold it against me and I only smoked at home privately. ” (Village resident, Junan county, female current smoker) Smoke to combat loneliness Boredom and killing time  
“I don’t have to work every day. Rural villagers have a lot of spare time. Usually people will go by the roadside to have a chat and smoke together to kill time.” (Village resident, Pingyin county, former smoker) Smoke to kill time   
“I smoked due to the needs of my job [used to be the village military commander]. It is needed for communication and improving relationship. The reasons for villagers to smoke are needs of their jobs and communication custom. It is embarrassing not to offer cigarettes or not accepting cigarettes when offered by others. In order to conduct any business, cigarette gifting has become a custom in the village.” (Village leader, Pingyin county, former smoker) Communication and Conducting business Social needs  
“For weddings and funerals, it’s impossible to have no cigarettes. The higher the price and the more quantities of cigarettes provided, the more admired by others.” (Village resident, Junan county, current smoker) Symbol of politeness and status   
“My husband smokes occasionally. I often remind him to bring cigarettes to give to others when he goes out. I think this helps establish better relationship with others.” (Female village resident, Pingyin county, non-smoker) Relationship building