Gender differences in smoking and cessation behaviors among young adults after implementation of local comprehensive tobacco control

Am J Public Health. 2008 Feb;98(2):310-6. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2006.101758. Epub 2008 Jan 2.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • New York City / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Public Policy*
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Smoking Cessation / methods
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology*