Tobacco was another of the West Indies' major exports. By the nineteenth-century, much of the tobacco smoked in Britain was from the British Caribbean. In Britain and the States, white women did not smoke, as it was considered unladylike.
Kate Chopin's late nineteenth-century heroines are often depicted smoking in assertion of their freedom and unconventionality (as did the author herself). There were fewer cultural restrictions on female behaviour among the black community of the Caribbean.