Smoking and Relationships

When women become pregnant, many reconsider their smoking and try to make changes. Understanding how smoking is influenced by your daily habits, routines, and ways of interacting with your partner is an important first step!

Since you’ve become pregnant, have you noticed any changes in your relationship with your partner around smoking? Can you relate to any of the following statements?

  • Smoking was never an issue before, but now I’m expected to quit (even if my partner keeps smoking!).
  • As long as I can keep reducing, we get along better. If I slip, the argument is bigger than ever before.
  • Both of us have decided to reduce, and we can talk about it without pressuring each other. We’re finding other things to do together instead of smoking.

What are TRIPs? Read the Couples and Smoking booklet to find out more.

Women Speak out About Their Partner’s Smoking

“I didn’t want to be mean and I was trying not to be like this bitchy pregnant woman because then he’d have to tell me about how my hormones are all getting in the way and I didn’t want to hear that so it was very frustrating. I had to bite my tongue a lot, I was trying very hard to be nice and respect him but I was also trying not to be around the cigarette smoke, you know, it was kind of hard.”

“Whenever I used to tell him not to smoke he would like get pissed off, he’ll tell me not to tell him not to smoke. And now like so many times we just sit and talk about our child and the bad effects on our baby. So now we’ve been talking about it and talking about quitting and making a smoke free environment for our kids and for everyone else. So now whenever I tell him not to smoke he’s not frustrated, he’ll take it, he’ll say okay, I’ll do it, I’ll do it.”

Have you had a similar experience? Tell us about it!

Men Speaking About Being Smoking Fathers

“I feel guilty all of the time when I have a cigarette and I’ll come in the house and the telephone will ring and she [partner] will just hand me the baby and I know I’ve got smoke on my breath and the baby wants attention so I’ve to talk to him and remember not to breathe into his face. I don’t want him to get accustomed to it or anything.”

“I have patches with me but I don’t use them, I just cut off little pieces in case I need them… I am finding the baby kind of replaces the patch. That’s how powerful having the baby is.”

In other words, when Dads are with baby, they will smoke less!

Using the Patch While Pregnant

m-9Some women wonder about whether they should use the patch when they are pregnant – do you? Based on recent research, the following guidelines have been developed for the use of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT, e.g., patch, gum, etc.) during pregnancy:

  • Pregnant women who smoke 5 cigarettes or fewer per day should use behavioural support, and not NRT, to help them quit.
  • Pregnant women with a moderate or high level of addiction may use NRT under the supervision of their physician.
  • A combination of cognitive-behavioural therapy and counselling with NRT is the most effective


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This booklet is meant to be used with other smoking cessation resources and programs. Click the booklet to visit the Resources page.


Bottorff, J., et al. (2006). Men’s constructions of smoking in the context of women’s tobacco reduction during pregnancy and postpartum. Social Science & Medicine 62, 3096–3108

Bottorff, J., et al. (2006). Men’s constructions of smoking in the context of women’s tobacco reduction during pregnancy and postpartum. Social Science & Medicine 62, 3096–3108

Osadchy et al. (2009). Nicotine replacement therapy during pregnancy: Recommended or not recommended? Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Aug 31(8):744-747