Objective: The objective was to identify and describe elements of power and control evident in couple tobacco-related interaction patterns during pregnancy.
Methods: Using a case study approach, elements of the Duluth Abuse Intervention Project Power and Control Wheel were used to examine women's experiences of tobacco reduction during pregnancy and post partum. Three cases were selected from a larger qualitative sample, using a maximum variation sampling approach.
Results: Although no direct evidence of partner abuse or violence accompanying partner efforts to influence women's smoking was described, most of the elements of power and control were present in the case study, and appeared to cause an emotional toll and a negative impact on women's ability to freely express their views about their own tobacco use.
Conclusions: Elements of power and control, however subtle, are potentially important and unrecognized dimensions of women's tobacco reduction experiences. Additional care and attention should be taken in designing tobacco reduction interventions and policies directed at pregnant and post partum women and their partners to reduce the possibility that these interventions may contribute to the use of power and control.