Cultural capital, self-determination theory, and cigarette warning labels in Egypt
: A social marketing empirical study.

  • Shorouk Hamzawi

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis



Despite the prevalence of tobacco use, studies on smoking cessation are underfunded in the majority of low- and middle-income countries. In addition, Egypt lacks smoking cessation treatments to combat the nation's rising smoking population. Therefore, the current study investigates smoking cessation practices in Egypt. The objective of the present study is to shed light on the social marketing strategies employed in Egypt to promote smoking cessation. In the absence of therapies, there is an urgent need to comprehend the enablers of smoking cessation, as they are the most important and cost-effective strategy available to a smoker.

Theoretical lens

This study explicitly employs and integrates the self-determination theory (SDT) and the cultural capital theory of Pierre Bourdieu. This integration was implemented in the study to strengthen the self-determination theory (SDT) and better comprehend smoking cessation methods in the presence of warning labels as a social marketing strategy. Through this integration, the conceptual framework of the present study attempts to overcome the limitations of the self-determination theory (SDT). The study is convinced that the accumulation of cultural capital may indicate the satisfaction of three fundamental needs and contribute to self-determination theory motivational forms.


To test the conceptual framework, the present research uses quantitative approaches based on empirical evidence. The sample of the presented study was determined using two sampling methods: a random sample in the first phase, followed by a snowball technique in the second. A snowball sample of 569 ex-smokers completed self-administered questionnaires. To test the proposed conceptual model, structural equation modelling techniques are applied. The analysis phase of the study proposed two distinct models, with the first (model 1) analyzing the cultural capital as a whole construct and the second (model 2) identifying the effect of the various cultural capital determinants.

Key Findings

In place of the limited role of the three basic needs in the original theory (self-determination theory), the findings of the present study indicate that the accumulation of cultural capital may serve as independent reasons for cessation behaviour in Egypt. For former smokers to maintain their smoking cessation behaviour, they must rely on their Implementation Intentions, as they are the most effective method for quitting, followed by the accumulation of cultural capital. The significance of controlled motivation in addressing smoking cessation is greater than the effect of autonomous reasons to quit smoking. There are some mediation variables for the process of smoking cessation in which forming intentions to quit mediates the relationship to implementation intentions; however, the study indicates that forming intentions to quit alone is unlikely to sustain the behaviour unless they are accompanied by implementation intentions. The effect of warning labels on the cessation process has been studied, and it has been determined that the labels successfully moderate the paths between cultural capital and controlled motivation, between autonomous motivation and intentions to quit, and between implementation intentions and smoking cessation behavior.

Research limitations/Major contributions

The study has encountered some limitations such as most of the participants in the present study were males, which prevented the study from drawing any conclusions about female cessation behaviours or comparing males and females, which we believe would have added more value to the study because females acquire healthier behaviours despite the accumulation of cultural.

It is essential to note that the findings should not be generalized to the entire population, especially those with lower levels of education. This study focused exclusively on the influence of cultural capital on smoking cessation behaviour. The present study is limited to the cultural capital only, however combining economic and social capital in a single SDT-based study will provide a more comprehensive view of human behaviour.

Based on this study, policy intervention recommendations have been made as implementation intentions are a cost-effective strategy for translating intentions into behaviour and according to this study, motivation can also be translated into behaviour via a full mediation between autonomous motivation and behaviour and a partial mediation between controlled motivation and cessation behaviour. To be effective, public health programs aimed at reducing smoking rates must develop messages about how, when, or, more generally, specific situations that are appealing.
Date of Award6 Oct 2022
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorQing Shan Ding (Main Supervisor) & Hanqun Song (Co-Supervisor)

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