What helps and what hinders the creation of a smoke-free home: A qualitative study of fathers in Scotland



O’Donnell R, McCulloch P, Greaves L, Semple S & Amos A (2022) What helps and what hinders the creation of a smoke-free home: A qualitative study of fathers in Scotland. Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 24 (4), pp. 511-518.

Abstract Introduction Few studies have explored fathers’ views and experiences of creating a smoke-free home, with interventions largely targeting mothers. This study aimed to identify barriers and facilitators to fathers creating a smoke-free home, to inform future intervention development. Methods Eighteen fathers who were smokers and lived in Scotland were recruited from Dads’ community groups, Early Years Centres and through social media advertising. Semi-structured interviews explored their views and experiences of creating a smoke-free home. A theory-informed thematic analysis using the COM-B model highlighted ways in which capability, opportunity and motivations shaped fathers’ home smoking behaviours. Results Several fathers understood the health risks of second-hand smoke exposure through public health messaging associated with recent smoke-free legislation prohibiting smoking in cars carrying children. Limited understanding of effective exposure reduction strategies and personal mental health challenges reduced some fathers’ ability to create a smoke-free home. Fathers were keen to maintain their smoke-free home rules, and their motivations for this largely centred on their perceived role as protector of their children, and their desire to be a good role model. Conclusions Fathers’ abilities to create a smoke-free home are shaped by a range of capabilities, opportunities and motivations, some of which relate to their role as a father. Establishing a fuller understanding of the contextual and gender-specific factors that shape fathers’ views on smoking in the home will facilitate the development of interventions and initiatives that fathers can identify and engage with, for the broader benefit of families and to improve gender equity and health. Implications Our findings can inform future development of father-centred and household-level smoke-free home interventions. They identify fathers’ views and experiences and help re-frame smoking in the home as a gendered family-wide issue, which is important in building consensus on how best to support parents to create a smoke-free home. Our findings highlight the need for additional research to develop understanding of the ways in which gender-related aspects of family structures, heterosexual relationships and child living arrangements influence home smoking rules and how to tailor interventions accordingly.

Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Nicotine and Tobacco Research: Volume 24, Issue 4

FundersCRUK Cancer Research UK
Publication date30/04/2022
Publication date online10/11/2021
Date accepted by journal10/11/2021
PublisherOxford University Press (OUP)

People (2)


Dr Rachel O'Donnell

Dr Rachel O'Donnell

Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Social Marketing

Professor Sean Semple

Professor Sean Semple

Professor, Institute for Social Marketing

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