Volunteered, negotiated, enforced: family politics and the regulation of home smoking

Sociol Health Illn. 2011 Jan;33(1):66-80. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9566.2010.01273.x. Epub 2010 Oct 11.


The protection of children from secondhand smoke in their homes remains a key objective for health agencies worldwide. While research has explored how parents can influence the introduction of home smoking restrictions, less attention has been paid to the role of wider familial and social networks as conduits for positive behaviour changes. In this article we explore how people living in Scotland have introduced various home smoking restrictions to reduce or eliminate children's exposure to tobacco smoke, and how some have gone on to influence people in their wider familial and social networks. The results suggest that many parents are willing to act on messages on the need to protect children from smoke, leading to the creation of patterns of smoking behaviour that are passed on to their parents and siblings and, more widely, to friends and visitors. However, while some parents and grandparents apparently voluntarily changed their smoking behaviour, other parents found that they had to make direct requests to family members and some needed to negotiate more forcefully to protect children, albeit often with positive results.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Decision Making
  • England
  • Family Relations*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Negotiating*
  • Politics*
  • Risk-Taking
  • Scotland
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Social Environment*
  • State Medicine
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / prevention & control*
  • Young Adult


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution