Smoking cigarettes is a gendered activity with sex- and gender-specific uptake trends and cessation patterns. While global male smoking rates have peaked, female rates are set to escalate in the 21st century, especially in low and middle income countries. Hence, smoking cessation for women will be an ongoing issue and requires refreshed attention. Public health and health promotion messages are being challenged to be increasingly tailored, taking gender into account. Women-centred approaches that include harm-reduction, motivational interviewing and trauma-informed elements are the new frontiers in interventions to encourage smoking cessation for women. Such approaches are linked to the meanings of smoking to women, the adaptive function of, and the overall role of smoking cigarettes in the context of women’s lives. These approaches respect gender and sex-related factors that affect smoking and smoking cessation and respond to these issues, not by reinforcing destructive or negative gender norms, but with insight. This article discusses a women-centred approach to smoking cessation that could underpin initiatives in clinical, community or public health settings and could inform campaigns and messaging.
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