Heavy smoking among a sample of employed women

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine; Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Adult; Female; Humans; Massachusetts; *Motivation; Nurses; Prevalence; Questionnaires; Smoking; *Smoking Cessation; Weight Gain; *Women, Working


Behavioral Disciplines and Activities | Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Preventive Medicine


Understanding the phenomenon of heavy smoking among women and factors related to it is of considerable public health importance. Whereas lighter smokers have been more successful in their cessation attempts, the percentage of smokers who smoke more than 25 cigarettes per day has increased in recent years. This article examines the hypothesis that, compared to lighter smokers, female heavy smokers will report more responsiveness to internal cues to smoke, less interest in quitting, more difficulty with previous cessation attempts, more uncertainty about cessation strategies, and more concern about weight gain as a result of quitting. We collected data in 1984 through a self-administered survey completed by 874 women employed as nurses in acute care, chronic care, and home care nursing in Worcester, Massachusetts; we base our analyses on data collected from 158 light and moderate smokers and 67 heavy smokers. Our findings suggest that, compared to lighter smokers, heavy smokers may depend more on nicotine and are likely to respond to a broader array of cues to smoke, factors that appear to contribute to heavy smokers' greater difficulties with quitting. These female heavy smokers are just as likely as lighter smokers to have made previous attempts to quit and want to quit just as much. Major barriers to quitting for female heavy smokers include a lack of confidence in their ability to quit, insufficient tools to succeed with cessation attempts, and fear that weight gain will accompany quitting.


Am J Prev Med. 1992 Jul-Aug;8(4):207-14.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

American journal of preventive medicine

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Link to article in PubMed

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