Gender differences in smoking behavior and cessation

Susan E. Chaney, Susan W. Sheriff, Linda Merritt


Objective: Many women want to quit smoking, but have lower abstinent rates than men. The gender differences in smoking behaviors and cessation in adults were explored through qualitative analyses of individual interviews with male and female smokers.
Methods: Sixty-one participants (34 men and 27 women), who reported using tobacco within the last year, completed open-ended phone interviews concerning barriers faced during smoking cessation. Participants reported smoking for an average of 23.0 (SD = 11.3) years and making an average of 2.41 (SD = 2.6) prior quit attempts. The interviews were transcribed and analyzed using qualitative content analysis procedures. An investigator external to the study independently analyzed qualitative interview data to increase the trustworthiness of results.
Results: Barriers relating to stress-mood regulation and social factors (e.g., others smoking) were most commonly reported in both genders (72% & 41% respectively). However, women tended to report a greater number of distinct barriers (Cohen's d = 0.4) and a great frequency of stress-related factors and anxiety. Factors related to the sensory aspects of smoking were more common among women and only women noted the lack of social support as a barrier. Other barriers included use of alcohol and factors related to the addictive nature of tobacco use (e.g., cravings). Abrupt cessation, or “cold-turkey”, was most common cessation method for both genders. However, both men and women reported using a variety of smoking cessation methods including nicotine replacement, cessation medications, electronic cigarettes, and behavior strategies.
Conclusions: The results showed that barriers to smoking cessation differed between the genders. Implications for smoking cessation programs include gender specific interventions.

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Clinical Nursing Studies
ISSN 2324-7940(Print)   ISSN 2324-7959(Online)

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