Objectives: We sought to study gender differences in young adult smoking declines and enrollment in populationwide cessation services.
Methods: The New York City (NYC) Department of Health and Mental Hygiene implemented populationwide cessation programs to distribute free nicotine replacement therapy (NRT); demographic data were collected from enrollees. Smoking prevalence was assessed using data from the Community Health Survey, an annual population-based survey.
Results: Between 2002 and 2005, smoking among young adults in NYC declined from 23.8% to 18.8%, which was explained entirely by a 41.8% decline among young adult women (23.2% to 13.5); prevalence remained at 24% among young adult men. More young adult women enrolled in cessation services than did men, although once enrolled, the likelihood of using NRT was high among both groups.
Conclusions: Among young adults, women have been responsive to comprehensive tobacco control, but men require more-intensive strategies. Population-wide NRT distribution can be effective with young adults overall; however, additional resources need to be devoted to identifying successful outreach strategies for young adult men.