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Table 1 Thematic analysis showing beliefs elicited and quotes from the focus group data about E-cigarette use in 11–16 year olds

From: Employing the theory of planned behaviour to design an e-cigarette education resource for use in secondary schools



Example Quotation



‘It’s better than smoking. . .there’s no like rocket fuel in them and all that, you know those other things that give you cancer and stuff. . .’

‘They are still harmful; you are still smoking. You are inhaling something into your body so they are still affecting your lungs’.

‘You probably get addicted to them with nicotine in it’.


‘I think they are good cause they stop you smoking’.

‘It could take you off them (cigarettes) for a while. They are good cause they help you quit smoking’

‘People use them to try to get off cigarettes.


‘Price is really the worst thing like, I’ve just spent sixty quid on a new one yesterday’.

‘Yeah, like they are all using e-cigarettes cause they can’t afford cigarettes now’.

‘Some of them are really expensive…’


‘There’s no smell like when you smoke an e-cigarette like the smell doesn’t stick to you’.

‘It’s just it’s fun. .. they are nice tasting. .. there are lots of nice flavours’.

‘You can blow hoops like the wee kind of tricks you can do’.

‘I just think they are class looking’.

‘They are stylish to have’.


‘You don’t know if it will explode when it’s charging. .. it could catch fire. .. some of them blow up in your face’.

‘You don’t really know what’s in them. Some places might have their own house flavours.. you don’t know what’s in them’.

‘They wouldn’t burn your house down like can happen with cigarettes’.

Subjective Norms


‘My mum would want me to use one’.

‘Because they (parents) are trying to give you the best advice to keep yourself healthy’.

‘they (parents) probably wouldn’t care if you’d an e-cigarette, but they care more if you’ve cigarettes’


‘Probably my uncle cause he, his children and stuff all do it’.


‘Friends want you to do what they are doing…’.

‘If your friends are using them.. .you are able to use theirs’.


‘Teachers cause they’re looking you to represent the school well and all that’.

“I guess teachers, I don’t think they would like us to use them”.

Other professionals e.g. coaches

“Probably like, the doctors, or like the dentists cause like your teeth are going to rot if you smoke”.

“Yeah, ….. doctors”.

Perceived Behavioural Control

Peer Pressure

‘it’s a social thing, if everyone else is doing it as well.. ‘

‘Kind of just want to fit in’.

‘The ides of fitting in, like peer pressure..’


‘Some people think they’re stylish to use’.

‘I just think they are class looking’.

‘Yeah it looks pretty cool’.

‘…yeah cause you can get ones in really nice colours and stuff…’


‘If you are caught with it by your mum or dad or whatever its less serious than being caught with cigarettes’.

‘If your parents allowed you to have one…’

‘The law would prevent us using them.. .if you are our age you’re not allowed to use one.. .the government don’t allow us to use them’.

‘We aren’t allowed to use them…it’s the law, we can’t buy them…’


‘If your parents have one then you can use theirs’.

‘Getting one as we aren’t allowed to buy them’.

‘If your friends are using them. .. you are able to use theirs’.


‘You can just whip it out and smoke it anywhere’.

‘It kind of saves you having to carry around cigarettes and lighters’.

‘Easy to carry around, you can’t carry a cigarette around as it would burn a hole in your pocket.


‘Just wanting to do it. Wanting to try it. .. to try something new’.

‘Just something to fill your time’.

‘Just to try it…’

  1. N = 51