The re-shaping of the life-world: male British Bangladeshi smokers and the English smoke-free legislation

Ethn Health. 2011 Dec;16(6):519-33. doi: 10.1080/13557858.2011.578734. Epub 2011 Jun 13.


Objective: To explore how male Bangladeshi smokers adapted to the English smoke-free legislation.

Design: We draw on data derived from the Evaluation of Smoke-free England (ESME), a qualitative, longitudinal study conducted between 2007 and 2008 in two English metropolitan areas. Repeat interviews (n = 34) were conducted before and after the legislation with 15 male Bangladeshi panel informants and from two focus groups: one with Bangladeshi men and the other with Bangladeshi women.

Results: Bangladeshi smokers who participated in this study had largely accommodated to the smoke-free legislation and most had reduced their consumption of cigarettes, albeit to a modest degree. However, at the same time some Bangladeshi smokers appeared to have increased their use of shisha, a popular alternative method of smoking tobacco in this community. Smoke-free legislation also had an impact on the social and cultural forces that shape smoking behaviour in this group. In particular, family homes continued to be a key space where tobacco is consumed, although the legislation may have helped to shift the balance in favour of forces that oppose smoking and against enduring cultural pro-smoking norms. Smoking in public was also less socially acceptable, especially in the vicinity of local mosques and at community events. In some older groups, however, smoking remains a deeply embedded social habit which can undermine smokers' efforts to quit.

Conclusion: For maximum impact, tobacco control interventions aimed at whole populations may need to be supplemented by culturally sensitive measures in local areas where there is a high concentration of Bangladeshi people. Similar considerations may apply to other minority communities with a high prevalence of smoking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bangladesh / ethnology
  • Culture
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Policy / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Health Status Disparities
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Men's Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Risk-Taking
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Smoking Cessation / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Smoking Prevention
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology