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Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs

The Journal of Nordic Centre for Welfare and Social Issues

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Volume 32, Issue 3 (Jun 2015)


Smoking cessation and gender differences – results from a Swedish sample

Tove Sohlberg
  • Department of Sociology, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Email:
Published Online: 2015-06-22 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/nsad-2015-0025


AIM – Previous research has concluded that prevalence of smoking, reasons to quit and strategies to become smoke-free vary markedly by gender. Yet we lack a more comprehensive understanding of the process leading to a quit attempt and a positive long-term outcome, and of the gender-specific mechanisms behind successful cessation. My aim is therefore to investigate reasons of smoking and motives, mechanisms and factors of smoking cessation, with special regard to gender differences.

DATA/METHOD – Between October 2009 and May 2010, respondents were recruited through the Swedish Monitor project. Each month 1 500 individuals from a representative sample in the Swedish population (n=12 000) were interviewed on the telephone. In a screening process, previous daily smokers who had been smoke-free for at last 12 months were asked to answer a postal survey (n=1 683) concerning their process to a smoke-free life. The analyses consist of both descriptive statistics and factor analyses.

RESULTS – The results indicate that women’s smoking filled an important role in life and that the cessation process was quite complex. Women often met harsh consequences from smoking, quitting for the sake of others. They tended to plan their cessation in advance and made more often use of professional help and nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) than men. Men tended to experience their smoking as quite unproblematic and typically quit for more self-oriented reasons. They seldom planned their cessation in advance, but many made use of snuff or snus, and about half were still using it. More than men, women perceived physical problems in not smoking, but also more social and personal benefits.

CONCLUSIONS – Gender differences were found in reasons to smoke, reasons to quit and strategies to quit smoking. Because the smoking cessation process is gendered, strategies and policy decisions should be gender sensitive, taking into account an array of specific needs.

Keywords: Smoking cessation; process; gender differences; Sweden; factor analyses


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About the article

Received: 2014-05-22

Accepted: 2014-10-10

Published Online: 2015-06-22

Published in Print: 2015-06-01

Citation Information: Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, ISSN (Online) 1458-6126, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/nsad-2015-0025. Export Citation

© Tove Sohlberg. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

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