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Qual Health Res. 2013 Aug;23(8):1042-53. doi: 10.1177/1049732313494118. Epub 2013 Jun 17.

Reconciling parenting and smoking in the context of child development.

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Institute of Healthy Living and Chronic Disease Prevention, University of British Columbia's Okanagan Campus, 3333 University Way, Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada.


In this article we explore the micro-social context of parental tobacco use in the first years of a child's life and early childhood. We conducted individual interviews with 28 mothers and fathers during the 4 years following the birth of their child. Using grounded theory methods, we identified the predominant explanatory concept in parents' accounts as the need to reconcile being a parent and smoking. Desires to become smoke-free coexisted with five types of parent-child interactions: (a) protecting the defenseless child, (b) concealing smoking and cigarettes from the mimicking child, (c) reinforcing smoking as bad with the communicative child, (d) making guilt-driven promises to the fearful child, and (e) relinquishing personal responsibility to the autonomous child. We examine the agency of the child in influencing parents' smoking practices, the importance of children's observational learning in the early years, and the reciprocal nature of parent-child interactions related to parents' smoking behavior.


addiction/substance use; children, growth and development; parenting; research, qualitative; smoking cessation; tobacco and health

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