Mothers who smoke: Confessions and justifications

Lori G. Irwin, Joy L. Johnson, Joan L. Bottorff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Interviews with mothers who smoke were analyzed to examine the influence of social discourses. Women presented themselves as knowledgeable about the health risks of tobacco, confessed guilt and shame, attempted to deflect accusations of neglect for smoking or exposing their children to tobacco, provided rationalization that they smoked for the sake of their children, and, although they were all smokers, demonstrated an antismoking stance. The findings indicate that mothers are in a "bind" when it comes to smoking and fulfilling societal expectations of a good mother. Health professionals must be cognizant of how discourses constrain women's choices in relation to tobacco.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-590
Number of pages14
JournalHealth Care for Women International
Issue number7
StatePublished - Aug 2005
Externally publishedYes


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