Draft prompt delivery interpretations were then discussed within the research team, retested against the transcripts, and used to identify the overarching imagery and themes. The lead author reviewed all transcripts and regular team discussions ensured the themes identified were tested for coherence and validity. We analysed the interview transcripts using discourse analysis, which views language
as a social function that participants use to construct a reality.32 33 Discourses reflect common assumptions, reveal how these structure participants’ thoughts and actions, and uncover how participants privilege some positions while minimising those that challenge their ‘reality’.34 This approach enabled us to explore what emotions the messages elicited,
which metaphors they employed, and how this imagery functioned.34 We use quotations to illustrate the metaphor patterns and the interpretations at which we arrived. Results Phase 1: The illusion of choice and control Responses to the photo sort task revealed two dominant metaphors: choice and control. Participants resisted acknowledging they were addicted by asserting smoking as a choice over which they maintained control. Yet despite constructing this position, none described smoking as a conscious choice and nearly all began smoking to avoid deviating from the peer group and family social norms: “We were raised in a smoking house…there was just smoke… It wasn’t really peer pressure or ’cause it was just to be cool, ’cause everybody else was doing it at the time.” These comments highlight the pervasiveness and normality of smoking, where ‘everybody else’ and ‘everyone’ smoked: “When I was going out [to pubs] all the time and everyone
was just smoking outside, so that’s mainly why I started.” Smoking defined group membership; rather than reflecting deeply on their actions, participants adopted behaviours others modelled: “Yeah. It means a lot. It means like- ah, um, I can actually smoke. I can actually afford a smoke, and I can, um, actually, um, be my boss.” Despite the apparent passivity of their smoking initiation, smoking provided participants with a tool they used to Entinostat assert their social identity. While they had not made active choices to smoke, participants nevertheless regarded smoking and quitting as a choice that only they (or other smokers) could make. They saw choice as a personal entitlement: “…it’s my choice. Freedom of choice”; a general right: “… these guys [smokers] have made the choice …”, and a national freedom: “It’s New Zealanders’ choice… if they wanna quit they’ll quit.” By framing smoking and quitting as “choices”, participants maintained control and distanced themselves from stereotypes of addicted smokers who had lost control.