Open Access Research

Examining smoking and cessation during pregnancy among an Appalachian sample: a preliminary view

Lesley Cottrell1*, Mark Gibson2, Carole Harris3, Alia Rai1, Sabera Sobhan4, Traci Berry5 and Bonita Stanton6

Author Affiliations

1 PO Box 9214 Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center. Department of Pediatrics, West Virginia University School of Medicine, Morgantown, WV 26506-9214, USA

2 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Utah Health Sciences Center, Salt Lake City, Utah 84132-2209, USA

3 P.O. Box 9100 Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center. Health Research Center, West Virginia University School of Medicine, Morgantown, WV 26506-9214, USA

4 Department of Counseling Psychology, One Hermann Museum Circle Drive, Houston, TX 77004, USA

5 P.O. Box 6122. Department of Counseling Psychology, West Virginia University. Morgantown, WV, USA

6 3901 Beaubian, 1T110 Children's Hospital of Michigan. Wayne State University School of Medicine. Detroit, MI 48201, USA

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Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy 2007, 2:14  doi:10.1186/1747-597X-2-14

Published: 7 May 2007



Several transitions that a woman experiences prenatally may influence her desire or ability to discontinue smoking. This study explores the role of smoking for young, Appalachian, nulliparous pregnant women and their plans for smoking during their pregnancies.


The reports of women and their male partners were taken from baseline interviews conducted during the first trimester of pregnancy. Cigarette smoking appeared to be more than an isolated addictive activity; rather, smoking was interwoven in women's social and personal realms, often changing as their perceptions of self changed. Women and their partners who continued to smoke appeared to be depressed, reject authority, and perceived little control over issues related to being pregnant.


These findings support the argument that standard substance use treatments and polices based on stages-of-change theories may not be effective for all individuals particularly those experiencing significant developmental changes in their lives. Greater success might be obtained from treatment programs designed to recognize the impact of these transitions as it relates to the substance use. The changing experiences of pregnant women in terms of their identity development, views of others, and their relationships have not been adequately addressed in existing cessation programs. Empirically-based interventions targeting these lifestyle characteristics may lead to increased cessation success among pregnant women.