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"It's like an addiction first thing... afterwards it's like a habit": daily smoking behaviour among people living in areas of deprivation


  • Bancroft, Angus
  • Wiltshire, Susan
  • Parry, Odette
  • Amos, Amanda


The paper draws on qualitative interviews with a sample of male and female smokers who live in areas of disadvantage in Edinburgh, Scotland, to examine their perceptions of habit and addiction and the implications for smoking behaviour. The paper shows how smokers have a sophisticated understanding of these concepts and the way in which they affected their smoking behaviour across the course of a 'typical' day. The paper argues that daily contexts which smokers inhabit either constrain or facilitate smoking and as such play a central role in the way in which they smoke. In contexts where smoking was constrained (by externally or self-imposed restrictions) smokers described how they employed various strategies to achieve and maintain what they perceived to be a desirable level of nicotine intake, such as by anticipatory smoking. Where restrictions on smoking were absent, men's and women's smoking appeared remarkably similar. However, for the most part, the contexts which men and women inhabited over the course of the day differed, with women assuming the largest share of domestic and child care responsibilities. Apparent gender differences in smoking behaviour appeared to be related to the different daily contexts which men and women inhabited. Crucially, the influences on smoking described by respondents in this study were closely related to circumstances of socio-economic deprivation.

Suggested Citation

  • Bancroft, Angus & Wiltshire, Susan & Parry, Odette & Amos, Amanda, 2003. ""It's like an addiction first thing... afterwards it's like a habit": daily smoking behaviour among people living in areas of deprivation," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(6), pages 1261-1267, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:56:y:2003:i:6:p:1261-1267

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    Cited by:

    1. Weden, Margaret M & Astone, Nan M & Bishai, David, 2006. "Racial, ethnic, and gender differences in smoking cessation associated with employment and joblessness through young adulthood in the US," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 303-316, January.
    2. Robinson, Jude & Kirkcaldy, Andrew J., 2007. "'You think that I'm smoking and they're not': Why mothers still smoke in the home," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 65(4), pages 641-652, August.
    3. Blackburn, Clare & Bonas, Sheila & Spencer, Nick & Dolan, Alan & Coe, Christine & Moy, Robert, 2005. "Smoking behaviour change among fathers of new infants," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 517-526, August.
    4. Ward, Paul Russell & Muller, Robert & Tsourtos, George & Hersh, Deborah & Lawn, Sharon & Winefield, Anthony H. & Coveney, John, 2011. "Additive and subtractive resilience strategies as enablers of biographical reinvention: A qualitative study of ex-smokers and never-smokers," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 72(7), pages 1140-1148, April.


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