Using the theory of normative social behavior to understand compliance with a smoke-free law in a middle-income country

M. J. Byron, Joanna E Cohen, Shannon Frattaroli, Joel Gittelsohn, D. H. Jernigan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Smoke-free laws, which ban smoking in public venues, can be effective in protecting public health, but it has been difficult to achieve compliance with these laws in low- and middle-income countries. This study was conducted to understand the social norms around public smoking and learn how to improve compliance in Bogor, the first Indonesian city to pass a comprehensive smoke-free law. Eleven stratified focus groups were conducted (n=89). Data were analyzed using the theory of normative social behavior, which posits that the influence of descriptive norms (perceptions about what other people do) on behavior is moderated by injunctive norms (perceptions about what one is expected to do), outcome expectations and group identity. The findings showed that participants perceived smoking in public to be common for men (descriptive norm). Public smoking is acceptable except in places with air conditioning and around children or pregnant women (injunctive norms). Men smoke without penalty of social or legal sanctions (outcome expectations) and may feel affiliation with other smokers (group identity). Together, these factors support public smoking and inhibit compliance with the smoke-free law. Theory-based communication and policy remedies are suggested that may bolster compliance with Bogor's smoke-free law given the current pro-smoking norms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)738-748
Number of pages11
JournalHealth Education Research
Volume31
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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