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Women's stories of smoking relapse after the birth of a child were underpinned by combinations of 5 storylines

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QUESTION: How do women describe their experiences of smoking relapse after the birth of a child?


Narrative analysis.


Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.


27 women (age range 18–39 y) who had stopped smoking during pregnancy and relapsed during the postpartum period were recruited after participation in a clinical trial of smoking relapse prevention and by a newspaper advertisement.


During one hour telephone or face to face interviews, women told their stories of smoking relapse. Interviews were tape recorded and transcribed verbatim. Analysis of data included close readings of the narratives; preparation of brief summaries and line drawing representations; and identification, coding, re-reading, and probing of central storylines.

Main findings

In telling their stories, women used various combinations of 5 general storylines. The first, controlling one's smoking, was about beginning with an unplanned “puff” of a cigarette at a social gathering or during a stressful time, which developed into a pattern of infrequent puffs and borrowed …

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  • Source of funding: no external funding.

  • For correspondence: Dr J L Bottorff, University of British Columbia, School of Nursing, T201-2211 Westbrook Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 2B5, Canada. Fax +1 604 822 7466.