Published Papers - Abstract 176

McDermott LJ, Dobson AJ & Russell A. Changes in smoking behaviour among young women over life stage transitions. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 2004; 28(4): 330-335

Objective: To examine changes in smoking behaviour among young women over four life stages: leaving home; employment, or attending college or university; marriage; and parenthood.Methods: Young women participating in the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health completed postal questionnaires in 1996 and 2000. Results: Unmarried women who moved out of their parents’ home between 1996 and 2000 had higher odds of adopting smoking than those who had not lived with their parents at either time (OR 1.8, 95% CI 1.2-2.6). Married women had lower odds of re-starting to smoke after quitting (OR 0.4, 95% CI 0.2-0.7) than unmarried women. Women who were pregnant in 2000 had higher odds of quitting smoking (OR 3.8, 95% CI 2.5-5.6) and women who were pregnant in 1996 and not in 2000 had higher odds of starting to smoke again (OR 3.2, 95% CI 1.6-6.2) than women who were not pregnant. The odds of being a current smoker or adopting smoking were significantly greater for women who binge drank alcohol or used cannabis and other illicit drugs.Conclusions: Adoption, maintenance and cessation of smoking among young women is strongly related to major life stage transitions, illicit drug use and alcohol consumption. Implications: Life changes such as marriage and actual or contemplated pregnancy provide opportunities for targeted interventions to help women quit smoking and not relapse after having a baby. Legislation to control smoking on licensed premises would reduce the social pressure on women to smoke.