Unclean fathers, responsible men: Smoking, stigma and fatherhood

Greaves, Lorraine; Oliffe, John L.; Ponic, Pamela; Kelly, Mary T.; Bottorff, Joan L.
December 2010
Health Sociology Review;Dec2010, Vol. 19 Issue 4, p522
Academic Journal
In this article, we report on the experiences of men who are smokers in the context of new fatherhood and explore the intersections of stigma, masculinities, and contemporary fathering. The men in this ethnographic study reveal both internalised and externalised stigma and describe situations and feelings when they became aware of the stigmatising qualities of smoking as new fathers. Fathers, expectant and new, are beginning to experience the focus of a punitive gaze previously reserved for expectant and new mothers. This gaze is gendered, and fathers who smoke are viewed as disrupting their responsibilities of protector and provider. The findings provide detail for understanding men's experiences of smoking-related stigma in Canada where smoking prevalence is relatively low, tobacco is denormalised, and smokers are increasingly stigmatised. To develop effective programming for this underserved group, health professionals must become aware of the unintended consequences of tobacco reduction pressures on new fathers, increasing negative public attitudes, and tobacco policies that have the potential to produce stigma-based psychological harm.


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