This Q-methodological study identified shared subjective explanations of smoking among non-smokers, current smokers and ex-smokers, to consider whether some representations were protective or facilitated quitting. Four factors were identified: named independent addiction; independent non-addiction; anti-smoking; and social addiction. The first two factors were dominated by current and ex-smokers, and the last two by non-smokers. Differences emerged on the use of the 'addiction' concept, the use of smoking as a tool for affect management, the role of image manipulation and the general positive and negative perceptions of smoking. The functional use of the different shared smoking representations is discussed.
- Subjective representation