Smoking cessation programs targeted to women: a systematic review

Women Health. 2012;52(1):32-54. doi: 10.1080/03630242.2011.637611.


The authors of this systematic review aimed to examine tobacco interventions developed to meet the needs of women, to identify sex- and gender-specific components, and to evaluate their effects on smoking cessation in women. The authors searched electronic databases in the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, MEDLINE, PubMed, EBSCO, PsychINFO, CINHAL, and EMBASE; the search was not restricted by publication date. Data was extracted from published peer-reviewed articles on participants, setting, treatment models, interventions, length of follow-up, and outcomes. The main outcome variable was abstinence from smoking. A total of 39 studies were identified. In efficacy studies, therapists addressed weight concerns and non-pharmacological aspects of smoking, taught mood/stress management strategies, and scheduled the quit date to be timed to the menstrual cycle. In effectiveness studies, therapists were peer counselors, provided telephone counseling, and/or distributed gendered booklets, videos, and posters. Among efficacy studies, interventions addressing weight gain/concerns showed the most promising results. If medication can support smoking cessation in women and how it interacts with non-pharmacological treatment also warrant further research. For effectiveness studies, the available evidence suggests that smoking should be addressed in low-income women accessing public health clinics. Further attention should be devoted to identifying new settings for providing smoking cessation interventions to women from disadvantaged groups. Women-specific tobacco programs help women stop smoking, although they appear to produce similar abstinence rates as non-sex/gender specific programs. Offering interventions for women specifically may reduce barriers to treatment entry and better meet individual preferences of smokers. Developing approaches that fully account for the multiple challenges treatment-seeking women face is still an area of research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Counseling
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pituitary Gland, Anterior
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • Smoking Prevention*