Gender and determinants of smoking cessation: a longitudinal study

Prev Med. 1999 Jul;29(1):57-62. doi: 10.1006/pmed.1999.0510.


Background: The less favorable trend in smoking prevalence in women compared to men may be due to lower cessation rates. We analyzed determinants of spontaneous smoking cessation with particular reference to gender differences.

Methods: Data on smoking were collected by questionnaire in three samples of the adult population, examined for the first time at intervals between 1976 and 1984. In total 11,802 (59%) subjects were smokers, and 9085 of them attended a reexamination after 5 years. Ten to 16 years later 6053 were examined once again. Logistic regression was performed to study the relation of determinants to having quit after 5 and 10-16 years.

Results: The prevalence of quitting was 12 and 22% at first and second follow-up, respectively. At both reexaminations, quitting smoking was positively associated with male sex and cigar smoking and negatively associated with the amount of tobacco smoked, inhalation, and alcohol consumption. Furthermore, in women, smoking cessation was positively associated with level of education and body mass index (BMI). Smoking cessation was not affected by cohabitation status, leisure activity, or bronchitis symptoms.

Conclusions: Smoking cessation initiatives should be targeted at heavy cigarette smokers, and at women, in particular the lean and poorly educated.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking Cessation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Statistics as Topic