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Quitting Smoking: Which Sex Does Better?

New research explodes some myths about the genders' respective chances of kicking the habit.

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Women under 50 are a little more likely to
quit successfully. Photo via

By Valerie Tejeda

06/01/12

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Men are no better at quitting smoking than women, new research suggests. Yesterday was World No Tobacco Day—a day that aims to prompt smokers of both sexes to quit. For years, a pervasive rumor has held that men have higher success rates than women when it comes to giving up. But this is definitely not the case, according to new research. A study published in Tobacco Control analyzed US, Canadian and UK data on over 102,000 smokers. The results from all three countries showed that women under the age of 50 were more likely to be successful at quitting than men—and this is especially true of women in their 20s and 30s. However for older people, this trend is reversed: men over the age of 60 seem more likely to quit successfully than older women. "Our study has found convincing evidence that men in general are not more likely to quit smoking successfully than women,” the researchers say. “The myth of female disadvantage at quitting smoking is bad, first and foremost, for women." It should be stressed that the gender-based statistical differences are relatively small; and regardless, using your sex as a reason to hold off on trying to quit is never a good idea, "It is bad for gender stereotypes in a world where inaccurate stereotypes are rife,” the researchers write. “It is time to put aside the idea that women are less successful than men at giving up smoking."

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