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Family Interactions Regarding Fathers’ Smoking and Cessation in Shanghai, China

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 November 2014

Carla J. Berg*
Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
Pinpin Zheng
School of Public Health, Fudan University, Shanghai, China
Michelle C. Kegler
Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
Address for correspondence: Carla J. Berg, Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Emory University School of Public Health, 1518 Clifton Road, NE, Room 524, Atlanta, GA 30322. Email:


Introduction: Spousal support predicts smoking cessation. China is the world's largest consumer of tobacco, with drastic differences in smoking prevalence among men and women. Thus, understanding marital interactions around husbands’ smoking has implications for cultures with similarly large gender disparities in smoking.

Aims: We examined interactions among family members regarding husbands’ smoking in homes with small children in Shanghai.

Methods: In Spring 2013, we conducted in-person semi-structured interviews among 13 male smokers and 17 female nonsmokers recruited from an urban and a suburban community in Shanghai.

Results/Findings: To encourage husbands’ cessation or reduction, some women reported intervening either directly or indirectly through their children, emphasizing the health consequences for the smoker and the family. Some women reported not conversing about cessation due to concern about conflict, tolerance, or resignation. Women reported that their husbands’ responses to anti-smoking messages from family members included promises to quit in the future or noting the strength of the nicotine addiction and the disadvantages of quitting. Men reported the importance of smoking in work/culture and argued against the research about the harms of smoking.

Conclusions: Interventions targeting motivators for cessation among men and to support women in encouraging their husbands’ cessation should be developed.

Original Articles
Copyright © The Author(s) 2014 

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