Home smoking restrictions before, during and after pregnancy—a qualitative study in rural China

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Abstract

Worldwide, many nonsmokers (often women and children) are exposed to second-hand smoke (SHS) in home settings, as men retain their traditional power and control within their family and women and children have limited agency to intervene. This study, set up to explore home smoking management in rural China, found that some women were able to positively intervene to restrict men's smoking at three key stages: prior to conception, during their pregnancy and at the early years of their children's lives. By utilizing dominant social, health and political narratives about the importance of raising a healthy child supported by the One-Child Policy in China, combined with the fear of health risks of SHS to young children, the women were able to use their elevated status as bearer and carers of the only children to subvert the pre-eminence of men in domestic environments, enabling them to positively influence home smoking. While this study highlights the possibility for future smoking cessation initiatives in China by incorporating family carers' elevated awareness of protection of children's health in key stages of childhood, there is also a need for further health education, as family members were unsure why they needed to keep children smoke-free, which may partially explain why few households were smoke-free.

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