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Who Quits Smoking and Why?


When there is an unaided attempt to quit smoking, women are three times more likely to restart[6]. The failed attempts at quitting may be related to why men and women smoke in the first place. Smokers who are extremely concerned about weight gain have a quit rate of 13.1% versus 21.1% for those who have no weight concerns[7]. Women may have a harder time quitting or be less interested in quitting because of concern over weight gain.

As physicians can play an important role in helping patients quit smoking. However, we may be unaware of our own gender biases - physicians have been found to be more likely to initiate an "opportunistic" discussion about smoking with male smokers than female smokers (47.8% vs 36.3%)[8].


6. Warner, K.E., Goldenhar, L.M., McLaughlin, C.G. (1992) Cigarette advertisement and magazine coverage of the hazards of smoking. New England Journal of Medicine, 2: 305-309.

7. Kolander, C.A., Ballard, D.J., Chandler, C.K. (1999) Contemporary Women's Health: Issues for Today and the Future. WCB/McGraw-Hill, Boston.

8. Zerbe, K. (1999) Women's Mental Health in Primary Care. Saunders Company, Philadelphia.

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