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Nicotine Tob Res. 2008 Sep;10(9):1457-66. doi: 10.1080/14622200802323241.

Smoking reduction and cessation among young adult women: a 7-year prospective analysis.

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Cancer Prevention Research Centre, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.


This study examined transitions in smoking behavior and attributes associated with reductions in daily smoking and subsequent cessation over a 7-year period. Data came from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health. Women aged 18-23 years in 1996 were randomly selected from the national health insurance database. Mailed questionnaires were distributed in 1996 (survey 1), 2000 (survey 2), and 2003 (survey 3). The analysis sample was all 972 women who were daily smokers with complete data on smoking at survey 1, and who participated in all three surveys. The main outcome variable was transitions in smoking behavior between surveys 1, 2, and 3, which included changes in the number of cigarettes smoked, changes to nonsmoking, and changes to nondaily smoking. Explanatory variables included prior smoking history, sociodemographic, lifestyle, psychosocial, and health-related characteristics. Over the 7-year period, one-quarter of daily smokers reduced and maintained a lower level of smoking. Reducers were most likely to have been heavy smokers and to have used illicit drugs, compared with those who stopped smoking. A change from daily to nondaily smoking at survey 2 predicted cessation at survey 3 when compared with no change in baseline smoking rate. Baseline smoking level was not a significant predictor of smoking cessation, while becoming married, having a higher physical health score, and not using illicit drugs increased the odds of cessation. Our study suggests that reducing from daily to nondaily smoking may promote smoking cessation among daily smokers. This observation warrants verification in other populations and in experimental studies.

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