Since 1996, the BC Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health has carried out research on girls, women and tobacco. We conduct primarily policy-oriented research, focused on preventing and reducing the effects of tobacco on women and girls and gender differences in tobacco use, smoking cessation and second-hand smoke exposure. The research team examines tobacco programs and policies for their effects on diverse groups of women, including pregnant and postpartum women, and women who are marginalized and who face disadvantages in health due to socioeconomic status, race, culture, age, sexual orientation, geography, disability, and/or addiction.

This work has been supported by partnerships and funding from Health Canada, the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the Canadian Tobacco Control Research Initiative, the International Network of Women Against Tobacco (INWAT), the World Health Organization (WHO), the American Cancer Society, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence in Health (NICE), and Cancer Research UK.

Key Recent Projects

Social and Built Environments and Gendered Effects of Second-hand Smoke (SHS) Policies

This project was designed to assess the effects of second-hand smoke policies on diverse groups of women and men, and how social and built environments impact women and men’s capacity to manage second-hand smoke exposure. We sought to uncover the gendered and diverse responses to smoke-free policies for sub-populations of women and men, and to develop recommendations for improving second-hand smoke (SHS) policies to decrease or ameliorate negative or unintended consequences. We saw how the social (i.e., social roles and positions) and built (i.e., housing, work facilities, education settings) environments that women and men experience and inhabit create opportunities or barriers to health, potentially enhancing or impeding their capacity to decrease tobacco use and/or smoke exposure in a variety of contexts.

Funded by: CTCRI
Principal Applicants: Lorraine Greaves
Co-Principal Applicants: Chizimuzo Okoli, Iris Torchalla, Joan Bottorff, Nancy Poole

Knowledge Translation on Smoking Reduction and Cessation Interventions for Pregnant and Postpartum Girls and Women

This project has created recommendations and resources for addressing high priority women smokers, as well as the providers and policy makers who seek to assist them. In particular, it brings an inequity lens to the issue of tobacco use interventions with pregnant smokers, and contributes to more effective interventions with disadvantaged and vulnerable groups of women. Synthesizing findings from an updated review of emerging interventions and better practices to facilitate smoking cessation and reduction during pregnancy and into the postpartum period, this project directly addresses the issue of effective knowledge transfer approaches with a variety of groups, and with a particular emphasis on high risk populations of pregnant smokers. Social media and other educational resources are being designed to address the information needs of: pregnant girls and women, health care providers, researchers, and policy-makers.

Funded by: Health Canada
Principal Applicants: Lorraine Greaves
Co-Principal Applicants: Chizimuzo Okoli, Natalie Hemsing, Nancy Poole, Renee O’Leary
Visit the Expecting to Quit website

Integrating Gender-Sensitive Tobacco Dependence Treatment in Women’s Trauma, Mental Health and Addictions Services

With the aim of improving health outcomes and preventing mortality for women smokers, we have undertaken this project to identify best practices in smoking cessation for women with other substance use problems, mental illness, and experiences of trauma. To achieve this goal, between April 2010 and March 2011, we conducted a study on the feasibility of integrating tobacco treatment and support within mental health, addictions and sexual violence services, in a gender informed way. The study included focus groups with service providers and with smokers, and a review of the literature on tobacco cessation in the mental health, substance use, and trauma treatment fields. Findings were presented at the 7th National conference on Tobacco or Health and will also be disseminated at the 15th World Conference on Tobacco or Health.

Funded by: Health Canada (Women’s Health Contribution Funding)
Principal Applicants: Nancy Poole
Co-Principal Applicants: Rebecca Haines, iTag, Tasnim Nathoo
Download: Report

Women Centred Tobacco Dependence Treatment and Relapse Prevention

Building upon several research projects at the BC Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health (BCCEWH) assessing tobacco use, dependence and cessation among women, this project aims to develop a women‐centred tobacco dependence treatment model in consultation with a group of expert stakeholders from across Canada, tobacco treatment providers and women smokers. The goal of this project is to reduce the prevalence of smoking among women by examining evidence and better practices in the field and developing a women‐centred approach to tobacco dependence treatment. Recommendations and resources for addressing tobacco dependence treatment in services which provide care for women will be generated, and shared with tobacco dependence treatment providers and policy makers. To date, we have: 1) drafted a women-centred approach to tobacco treatment based on existing research on sex and gender differences in tobacco use, and addiction, tobacco cessation and relapse prevention approaches, and women-centred care; and 2) conducted a stakeholders’ workshop to refine the draft approach, and brainstorm the specific program components for a women-specific smoking cessation and relapse prevention program. We are now preparing for focus groups with: a) health care providers engaged in tobacco dependence treatment among women to evaluate feasibility and applicability of program components, and b) groups of women who smoke to identify desirability and acceptability of program components. Finally, the project will re-engage stakeholders in a webcast to examine the final product, discuss how to promote the use of the women-centred tobacco treatment programming, and develop context specific knowledge translation activities.

Funded by: Health Canada (Women’s Health Contribution Funding)
Principal Applicants: Nancy Poole
Co-Principal Applicants: Lorraine Greaves, Natasha Jategonkar, Cristine Urquhart
Download: List of tobacco publications

Recent Peer Reviewed Publications

  1. Bottorff, J. L., Poole, N., Kelly, M. T., Greaves, L., Marcellus, L., & Jung, M. (early view, January 10, 2014). Tobacco and alcohol use in the context of adolescent pregnancy: Review of the literature. Health and Social Care in the Community. doi: 10.1111/hsc.12091
  2. Greaves L. (2014). Can tobacco control be transformative? Reducing gender inequity and tobacco use among vulnerable populations. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 11(1), 792-803. doi:10.3390/ijerph110100792.
  3.  de Finney, S., Greaves, L., Janyst, P., Hemsing, N., Jategaonkar, N., Browne, A., . . . Poole, N. (2013). “I had to grow up pretty quickly”: Cultural and gender contexts of Aboriginal girls’ smoking. Pimatisiwin: A Journal of Aboriginal and Indigenous Community Health, 11(2), 151-170.
  4. Okoli, C.T.C., Greaves, L., Fagyas, V. (2013). Sex differences in smoking initiation among children and adolescents. Public Health, 127(1), 3-10.
  5. Hemsing, N., Greaves, L., Poole, N., & Bottorff, J. L. (2012). Reshuffling and relocating: the gendered and income-related differential effects of restricting smoking locations. Journal of Environmental and Public Health, 2012, 1-12. doi:10.1155/2012/907832

Recent Reports and Knowledge Exchange Materials

  1. Women and Tobacco: A Casebook, 2013
  2. Liberation! Helping Women Quit Smoking: A Brief Tobacco-Intervention Guide, 2012
  3. Expecting to Quit: A Best-Practices Review of Smoking Cessation Interventions for Pregnant and Postpartum Girls and Women, 2011
  4. Research Summary: Integrating Tobacco Cessation Interventions Into Mental Health, Substance Use and Anti-Violence Services, 2011
  5. Hearing the Perspectives of Aboriginal Girls on Smoking, 2009

Linked Websites

Visit the Expecting to Quit website

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