Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 129-137

First online:

Attitudes toward smoking cessation among men and women

  • Glorian SorensenAffiliated withDivision of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • , Terry F. PechacekAffiliated withDivision of Cancer Prevention and Control, National Cancer Institute

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Recent reports indicate that women are less successful than men in their attempts to quit smoking. Sex differences in attitudes toward smoking cessation were examined cross-sectionally in a sample of 447 smokers randomly selected from employees of 10 diverse Minnesota worksites and interviewed in early 1984. No sex differences were found in the percentage of smokers who had tried to quit at least once in the past; indeed, over four of five respondents reported prior attempts to quit. Yet compared to women, men were more interested in quitting. Women were less likely than men to perceive the health benefits of quitting and expressed more concern about weight gain and job pressures related to quitting. No significant sex differences were found in prior use of formal cessation services, which had been used by about one-fourth of these respondents. Yet compared to men, women appeared to rely on informal sources of support, such as encouragement from co-workers. These findings underline the importance of intervention programs targeting women and suggest strategies that might enhance the effectiveness of such programs oriented toward women.

Key words

health attitudes smoking gender