Smoking and harm-reduction efforts among postpartum women

Mimi Nichter, Mark Nichter, Shelly Adrian, Kate Goldade, Laura Tesler, Myra Muramoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The authors present findings from a qualitative study on postpartum smoking among low-income women (N = 44) who had been smokers at the onset of pregnancy. Interview data collected after delivery at Months 1, 3, and 6 postpartum are discussed to explore contextual factors contributing to smoking abstinence, relapse, and harm-reduction practices. By 6 months postpartum, 10 women (23%) had completely quit, 21 women (48%) had reduced their smoking by 50% of their prepregnancy levels, and 7 women (16%) had reduced their smoking by one third of their prepregnancy levels. Thus, the majority of the women were engaging in significant harm-reduction efforts despite being entrenched in high-risk smoking environments where they were provided with few messages to quit. Many mothers were concerned about their moral identity as a smoker and expressed concerns that their child might initiate smoking at an early age. Future programs targeting this population should acknowledge women's harm-reduction efforts in environments where smoking is normative.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1184-1194
Number of pages11
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2008


  • Postpartum care
  • Smoking
  • Tobacco and health
  • Women's health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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