Trying to Quit Smoking? Here's Why Your Gender May Matter


When it comes to smoking cessation, gender matters quite a bit, according to a study from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

National Institute of Drug Abuse statistics indicate that women are 31 percent less likely than men to quit smoking successfully and that nicotine replacement therapy is more effective in male smokers. Laboratory studies suggest this may be because women smoke more in response to stress — a theory tested by the South Carolina researchers in a real-world setting.

This study involved 177 smokers who viewed eight cellphone images each day for two weeks. The images were of smoking cues (pictures of cigarettes or a person smoking), stress cues (pictures of war or violence), and neutral cues. Study participants tracked the number of cigarettes they smoked each day and assessed their stress and cigarette craving levels and their emotions before and after viewing the images.

Female smokers in the study experienced more stress and stronger cigarette cravings than male smokers after seeing the stressful images, but responses to the smoking cues were similar in both men and women. This suggests that women may respond better to smoking cessation strategies that address stress.

Sourced from: Nicotine & Tobacco Research