While it has been scientifically proven that smoking has adverse health effects, a new study has revealed that women may find it harder to quit the cancer sticks than their male counterparts. Recent research published in the May 2022 issue of the journal Addictive Behaviors, indicates that this could mean that there is also a higher chance of women backsliding into the habit.
A postdoctoral fellow in the department of epidemiology at Columbia University, João Mauricio Castaldelli-Maia, MD, said that one of the most important indicators of successful prolonged cessation of smoking is a successful first day of abstinence.
“It may be that withdrawal syndrome, which typically presents on the first day of abstinence and is cited by smokers as the main reason for relapse, may play an essential role in one-day quit attempt outcomes among women who typically report more withdrawal symptoms than men.”
Scientists at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in New York City also found that larger health warning labels on cigarette packs may help improve the odds of experiencing a one-day relapse. Interestingly, researchers noted that highly visible warning labels about smoking’s health hazards printed on the packaging make a difference. The study found that prominently sized cautions were associated with reduced odds of one-day relapse among women.
It would seem that women tend to pay greater attention to the graphic warning labels on cigarette boxes than men. According to Silvia Martins, MD, professor of epidemiology at Columbia and senior author of the study, these warning labels elicit a higher motivation to quit because of the negative emotions they evoke. This indicates that highly visible warning labels about smoking’s health hazards printed on the packaging do make a difference. The study found that prominently sized cautions were associated with reduced odds of one-day relapse among women. Linked to this is the finding that women may be more likely to be motivated by health concerns, particularly pregnancy, to attempt to quit smoking as compared with male smokers.
The investigation was based on data from the Global Adult Tobacco Survey of 2008–2012, which included more than 16,500 smokers from 12 low- and middle-income countries — Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, and Vietnam. About 60 percent of the world’s smokers live in these nations. Overall one-day relapses ranged from 3 to 14 percent.
Researchers have observed that medication and psychotherapy may be critical in increasing the chance of successfully quitting smoking.
*This article does not replace professional medical or addiction advice.