"Stretched thin with little children” – smoking perceptions and experiences of families seeking help with parenting

SAGE Publications
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Child Health Care, 2020, pp. 1367493520967834
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of poor pregnancy outcomes. Pregnancy is a trigger for smoking cessation yet, up to 50% of parents will relapse in the early years of their child’s life. The smoking-related perceptions and experiences of eleven parents seeking professional help with the care and parenting of babies and toddlers were explored, using semi-structured interviews. Inductive thematic analysis identified three themes: parenting as a change catalyst, smoking as a parenting challenge and smoking as a coping strategy. Becoming a parent is a catalyst to reduce the associated risks and stigma associated with smoking, but maintaining rules and boundaries can be perceived as a further burden for parents who are struggling to care for their infant. When faced with difficulties with parenting, parents may revert to smoking as a coping strategy. Based on these study findings, interventions targeting gender norms may be useful in addressing smoking cessation.
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