Smoking Cessation among Female and Male Veterans before and after a Randomized Trial of Proactive Outreach

Elisheva R. Danan, Scott E. Sherman, Barbara A. Clothier, Diana J. Burgess, Erika A. Pinsker, Anne M. Joseph, Siamak Noorbaloochi, Steven S. Fu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Female veterans smoke cigarettes at high rates compared with both male veterans and nonveteran women. Proactive outreach to smokers may reduce gender disparities in cessation care. The objectives of this study were to compare baseline experiences with VA smoking cessation care for men and women and to assess for gender differences in response to a proactive outreach intervention. Methods: We conducted a post hoc subgroup analysis of a pragmatic, multisite randomized, controlled trial comparing proactive outreach with usual care (UC). Baseline experiences included physician advice to quit, satisfaction with care, and past-year treatment use. At the 1-year follow-up, treatment use, quit attempts, and 6-month prolonged abstinence for women and men randomized to proactive outreach versus UC were compared using logistic regression. Results: Baseline and follow-up surveys were returned by 138 women and 2,516 men. At baseline, women were less likely than men to report being very or somewhat satisfied with the process of obtaining smoking cessation medications in the VA (47% of women vs. 62% of men), but no less likely to report having used cessation medications from the VA in the past year (39% of women vs. 34% of men). After the intervention, phone counseling and combined therapy increased among both women and men in proactive outreach as compared with UC. At the 1-year follow-up, men in proactive outreach were significantly more likely to report prolonged abstinence than those in UC (odds ratio, 1.65; 95% CI, 1.28–2.14); results for women were in the same direction but not statistically significant (odds ratio, 1.39; 95% CI, 0.48–3.99). Conclusions: Satisfaction with cessation care in VA remains low. Proactive outreach to smokers was associated with an increased use of cessation therapies, and increased odds of achieving prolonged abstinence. A subgroup analysis by gender did not reveal significant differences in the treatment effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S15-S23
JournalWomen's Health Issues
StatePublished - Jun 25 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Maternity and Midwifery


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