Family inclusive approach important in smoking cessation programmes (Australia)

smoking cessation

Two systematic reviews of smoking cessation programmes highlight the importance of family factors. In one of the reviews, relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in Australia, a key barrier was found to be health professional advice itself, which was resisted. Meanwhile, a supportive environment from family and friends was identified as the key enabler.

Earlier research has shown that a key barrier to smoking cessation is low social support for the woman and that a key support is a conducive social environment.

Both reviews identify smoking as an important part of women’s lives. It is used as a coping mechanism for stress. Furthermore, smoking has an important social function, and cessation can be perceived as adversely affecting relationships with family members, partners in particular. This may explain the important of supportive family members, partners in particular, in changing smoking habits. A partner who supports the woman’s attempt to stop smoking, who does not smoke near her or who quits smoking with her, is one of the most significant positive influences for pregnant women.

The reviewers recommend that women’s social circumstances are taken into account by health professionals. They recommend information campaigns to promote the importance of a supportive environment for smoking cessation, targeting partners and families. They recommend further research on partner perceptions of their influence.

The researchers do not, however, go so far as to propose any direct support delivered to partners, as is recommended by other maternal health studies reported on, including the previously published post from Sweden on how direct support for partners is part of a woman centred approach to maternal healthcare.

The two studies reviewed are:


Barnett MJ, Fealy S & Wilson A (2018), Barriers and enablers for smoking cessation amongst pregnant women: An umbrella review, Women and Birth

Photo: Jan Truter. Creative Commons.