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A Qualitative Perspective on Multiple Health Behaviour Change: Views of Smoking Cessation Advisors Who Promote Physical Activity

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 February 2012

Emma S. Everson-Hock
School of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Exeter, United Kingdom; Now at: Section of Public Health, School of Health and Related Research, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom.
Adrian H. Taylor*
School of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Exeter, United Kingdom.
Michael Ussher
Division of Community Health Sciences, St. George's University of London, United Kingdom.
Guy Faulkner
Faculty of Physical Education and Health, University of Toronto, Canada.
*Address for correspondence: Prof Adrian H. Taylor, School of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Exeter, Heavitree Road, Exeter, EX1 2LU, UK.


There are mixed views on whether smoking cessation advisors should focus only on quitting smoking or also promote simultaneous health behaviour changes (e.g., diet, physical activity), but no studies have qualitatively examined the views and vicarious experiences of such health professionals. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 11 trained smoking cessation advisors who promote physical activity to their clients. The data were categorised into themes using thematic analysis supported by qualitative data analysis software. We report themes that were related to why advisors promote multiple health behaviour change and issues in timing. Physical activity could be promoted as a cessation aid and also as part of a holistic lifestyle change consistent with a nonsmoker identity, thereby increasing feelings of control and addressing fear of weight gain. Multiple changes were promoted pre-quit, simultaneously and post-quit, and advisors asserted that it is important to focus on the needs and capabilities of individual clients when deciding how to time multiple changes. Also, suggesting that PA was a useful and easily performed cessation aid rather than a new behaviour (i.e., structured exercise that may seem irrelevant) may help some clients to avoid a sense of overload.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010

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