Women More Likely to Seek Help to Quit Smoking; Men Tough it Out
WASHINGTON, Nov. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Women are more likely than men to ask for help when trying to quit smoking, according to a national Yankelovich Partners survey conducted for the National Women's Health Resource Center (NWHRC) and released today. The s
The survey of 1002 smokers found women cite more emotional causes such as relief of stress, anxiety, anger or depression when asked the reasons why they currently smoke, as well as reasons for starting smoking again after a quit attempt.
``It's been said that men and women are from different planets, and that's certainly true when it comes to smoking,'' said Amy Niles, executive director of the National Women's Health Resource Center. ``Women often have emotional motivations to start and keep smoking. Men are quite different.''
Three-quarters of the survey respondents have tried to quit smoking more than once and almost half have made an attempt within the past 12 months. The survey showed that men are more likely to stop ``cold turkey,'' while women are more likely to incorporate cessation products such as prescription medications.
One-third of both men and women in the survey reported the longest they have been able to stop smoking was one week or less, and just one-fifth of both genders were successful for a year or more.
``This low success rate clearly demonstrates the power of nicotine addiction,'' said Linda H. Ferry, MD, MPH, a nationally-recognized expert in nicotine addiction and director of the preventive medicine residency program at Loma Linda University. ``In fact, 92% of the people surveyed believe nicotine is addictive. Ironically, men are not very likely to seek help from an outside source -- such as a doctor -- to beat the addiction.''
Less than half (45%) of men say they have ever consulted a doctor, while 58% of women say they have talked to a physician. According to the survey, women are more likely to seek help with future attempts to stop smoking, while men say their mind is set on quitting on their own.
``It has been demonstrated over the years that women are more likely than men to discuss health issues with a physician,'' said the National Women's Health Resource Center's Amy Niles. ``More women need to take advantage of the help that is available to help them successfully quit smoking. It is important that women realize they don't have to fight this addiction on their own.''
``We now have more treatment options than ever for smokers who are committed to quitting,'' says Dr. Ferry. ``It's critical for smokers to enlist the support of their physicians, who can set up a treatment plan tailored to a smoker's individual needs.''
Weight gain is also an important issue for women, according to the survey. As compared to men, women are twice as likely to continue smoking to maintain their weight (19% vs. 10%) or to lose weight (13% vs. 6%). Unsuccessful cessation due to weight gain (30% vs. 16%) or concern about weight gain (34% vs. 16%) is twice as likely among women as among men.
``Weight gain is a typical concern for women and remains a reason why many continue to smoke or go back to smoking,'' said Dr. Ferry. ``However, there are ways to prevent weight gain during the smoking cessation process, and a doctor can help.''
The survey was conducted by Yankelovich Partners on behalf of the NWHRC, and funded by Glaxo Wellcome Inc. A total of 1002 interviews were conducted between July and August 1999, among current cigarette smokers age 18 and over who say they have made a serious effort to quit smoking in the past.
Interviews were conducted by telephone using CATI (Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing) methodology. A random-digit dialing technique was implemented in order to reach these respondents, ensuring an equal probability of contacting individuals with unlisted as well as listed numbers. The interviews were approximately 15 minutes in length.
The National Women's Health Resource Center, Inc. (NWHRC) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping women make informed decisions about their health. As the national clearinghouse for women's health information, the NWHRC helps women educate themselves about the health topics that concern them the most, and links them with needed resources. As educated consumers, women can more easily identify the best treatment options available to them and embrace lifestyles that promote wellness and prevent disease.
The NWHRC publishes the award-winning National Women's Health Report, as well as Fact Sheets and other resources on women's health. It maintains the HealthyWomen Database of more than 5,000 national and state women's health resources. The NWHRC is the author of the recently published (William Morrow, August 1999) National Women's Health Resource Center Book of Women's Health, a 680-page consumer reference guide on women's health. The Center's web site -- http://www.healthywomen.org -- serves as the ``one-stop shop'' for women's health information. The NWHRC routinely works with other organizations and companies to develop national awareness campaigns and public education initiatives about specific women's health topics.
The Center is based in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and has offices in Washington, D.C. It may be reached toll-free at 877-98-NWHRC (877-986-9472).
Cigarette smoking is the single most preventable cause of premature death in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 400,000 Americans die every year from cigarette tobacco.
The addictive nature of tobacco use is well known. Cigarette smoking is considered the most common substance abuse disorder in the United States. There are approximately 48 million American adult smokers. Ninety percent of these are considered nicotine dependent.