Smoking Cessation Programs Targeted to Women: A Systematic Review

Iris Torchalla, Chizimuzo T.C. Okoli, Joan L. Bottorff, Annie Qu, Nancy Poole, Lorraine Greaves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-54
Number of pages23
JournalWomen and Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a grant from the Women’s Health Research Network (WHRN). Dr. Torchalla was supported by two postdoctoral research fellowships from the Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR): through the Investigating Tobacco and Gender (iTAG) team grant and the Intersections of Mental Health Perspectives in Addictions Research Training (IMPART) program. The WHRN and the CIHR had no further roles in study design; in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of the data; in the writing of the report; or in the decision to submit the article for publication.


  • behavior
  • psychosocial
  • risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (all)


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