Is Quitting Harder for Women?

Smoking cessation may be different for men and women but results are nearly the same

(RxWiki News) Previous claims that women have a tougher time quitting smoking may not be true. It is possible that men and women have trouble with different aspects of quitting smoking.

A recent study showed that overall statistics show little to no gender difference when it comes to quitting smoking.

This doesn’t mean that intervention efforts and support for quitting smoking shouldn’t be gender specific.

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Dr. Martin J. Jarvis, professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London in the UK, led an investigation into whether there are gender differences in quit smoking rates.

The researchers collected data from surveys conducted in the US, Canada and the UK from 2006-2007.

Results of the study showed that women under the age of 50, in all three countries, were more likely than men to successfully quit smoking.

In the over 50-age group, men were more likely to quit smoking. But the authors stated, that overall, the gender differences in quit smoking rates were not significant.

This information is important to note for intervention efforts. If one gender had greater trouble quitting smoking, changes in quit smoking help would need to be made.

The authors noted that, in the past, the healthcare arena had claimed that women had greater difficulty with quitting smoking.

Authors said, “The myth of female disadvantage at quitting smoking is bad, first and foremost, for women.”

If women think that they have less of a shot at successfully quitting, they may feel discouraged to even try in the first place.

Authors said, “[I]t is time to put aside the idea that women are less successful than men at giving up smoking.”

The results of this study only look at the statistical results of smoking cessation studies. They do not take into account that the process and concerns around quitting smoking and relapses back into smoking may be different for men and women.

That is to say that gender specific intervention efforts may not be a bad idea, as long as women don’t get the impression that they are at a disadvantage due to their sex. 

This study was published in May in Tobacco Control, a British Medical Journal publication. No financial information was given, no conflicts of interest were found.

Review Date: 
August 9, 2012