Quitting can be particularly challenging for certain subpopulations. Mental and physical health, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and sexual orientation can have an impact on quitting success and the likelihood of relapse. When it comes quitting and staying quit, knowing the characteristics that lead to challenges and tailoring quit programs to unique needs can be an important piece in the puzzle of success.
Because smoking inhibits psychiatric recovery in many ways, quitting must be a part of the process of recovery from mental health issues. However, those with mental health issues can find quitting difficult for many reasons. Smoking can reduce their symptoms, and it is often deemed acceptable in mental health environments. People with mental health concerns may be less apt to join support groups, and they can find quitting difficult without direct support. They can also be hampered by a long-held misperception that quitting for those with mental health issues is simply not a priority.
Although those with behavioral health disorders often require more attempts at quitting, they can successfully quit – and they can do so without increasing their risk of other addictive behaviors.
Visit our Behavioral Health page to find out more about smoking and mental health issues.
Fewer members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community have made an attempt to quit using tobacco than the general population. Stress, the use of alcohol and drugs, and being part of a community that has a high smoking rate can increase tobacco usage and inhibit quitting for the LGBT population. Often LGBTs do not have access to quit support programs – even those specifically targeted to them.
LGBTs get a lot of support from social groups, friends and family. Talking to a doctor, enrolling in a support program, and making use of LBGT opportunities such as sports, social groups, or political organizations that enhance a smoke-free lifestyle can help increase the rates of quitting for this segment of the population.
Find out more quitting resources for LGBT.
A new baby will bring you lots of joy, but motherhood can be stressful, too. When new moms are busy, lonely or tired, they might be tempted to reach for a cigarette. Pregnant and new mothers are at a high risk of relapse, especially the first year post-partum.
Find out more about Smoking & Pregnancy.
Quitting can differ for men and women, and these differences are proving to have a significant impact on the success of their treatment. Environmental factors, depression, use of nicotine replacement therapies, and the use of social support can play different roles in quitting tobacco for men and women, indicating that quitting approaches should be tailored to fit the unique needs of each gender individually.
Emotional support of friends, family, coworkers, or support from a group or healthcare provider is important for quitting, and for women, it has a greater impact on success. It also is important in helping pregnant women quit.
For women, support groups are more helpful if they involve discussion of things like family lives, single parenting and financial issues, and the stressors that keep them smoking. The Buddy System can also play an important role in successful quitting for women.
Visit the Gender Differences page for information about how gender affects tobacco use and tobacco-related disease.
Youth are primary targets of the tobacco industry to initiate smoking. Youth prevention is important so that youth do not begin smoking in the first place. Youth believe they can quit when they want and do not understand the addictive nature of nicotine. Peer pressure can be a major influence on encouraging smoking – and it can encourage quitting.
Parents can also play a huge role in helping a child that smokes to quit. When it comes to supporting your child:
For information about how smoking affects the health and quit rates for segments of the population most at risk for tobacco use and tobacco-related disease, visit our Special Populations section.