Gender and class as dimensions of smoking behaviour in Britain: insights from a survey of mothers

Soc Sci Med. 1994 Mar;38(5):691-8. doi: 10.1016/0277-9536(94)90459-6.


The decline in cigarette smoking in Britain over the last four decades has been associated with a profound change in its social distribution. Gender differences have narrowed to the point where smoking has all but lost its male identity. Class differences have widened, with cigarette smoking emerging as a habit sustained within working class communities. The paper reports on a study which sheds light on how being a woman and being working class connects with smoking behaviour. Focusing on women with young children, the study points to clear associations between smoking status and the social and material circumstances of mothers' lives. Specifically, it highlights how cigarette smoking is linked to additional caring responsibilities and restricted access to material resources.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marital Status / statistics & numerical data
  • Mothers / psychology
  • Mothers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk-Taking
  • Sex Factors
  • Single Parent / statistics & numerical data
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Social Class*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology