Reported variability in successful quitting between genders, prompted us to study the perceptions of smokers. Many factors influence the decision of a smoker to make a quit attempt. We studied the factors smokers, who were motivated to quit, experienced at the start of a tobacco dependence treatment program and evaluated discrepancies between the genders.
Six sessions emphasized behavior modification and pharmacological interventions. Demographics, co-morbidity and smoking information was obtained from questionnaires on day 1. Quit status verified at 1 month with exhaled carbon monoxide levels.
1139 smoking patients total (482 males [median age 45.2 years]; 657 females [median age 48.6]); of these, median ‘pack years’ for males was 33 vs. 27.5 for females. No difference in Fagerstrom scores- scale of nicotine addiction (6.0 out of possible 10 for both men and women), or the number of previous quit attempts (2). More females 71.9% vs. males 63.1% reported smoking “light” cigarettes; believing them to be less harmful than regular cigarettes (p<0.01) and more females 71.8% vs. 59.4% males believed that nicotine causes cancer (p<0.01). 75.0% females vs. 64.5% males report worrying that their smoking may give them cancer (p<0.01). Females also reported ‘feeling guilty about their smoking’ more often than males 77.2% vs. 61.7% (p<0.01). In regard to obstacles to this quit attempt, more females than males reported: a ‘fear of failure’ 17.5 vs. 10.7% (p<0.01), and a ‘fear of weight gain’ 41.1% vs. 14.6% (p<0.01). More females also reported ‘being worried about managing their stress without cigarettes’ 63.1% vs. 55.0% (p<0.01). We found no difference in the quit rates of males and females at 30 days (59.1% vs. 54.9%).
Both genders quit similarly, howver, both demonstrated significant knowledge deficit about tobacco and its health hazards. Female concerns about tobacco use far outweighed concerns of males.
Comprehensive cessation programs need to include not only pharmacotherapy, and behavior modification but also need to emphasize intensive education for both genders to maximize success rates.
Virginia Reichert, None.