Women find it more difficult to quit smoking than men, despite smoking fewer cigarettes, a new study shows.
Researchers in France studied more than 35,000 smokers, both men and women, who used smoking cessation services such as nicotine replacement products, vaping and one-on-one therapy sessions.
The average number of cigarettes smoked daily was 23 for women and 27 for men – but 55 percent of men abstained from smoking, compared to 52 percent of women.
Interestingly, about 56 percent of the women had severe nicotine dependence, compared to 60 percent of the men.
Women who used these services were more prone to obesity, depression and anxiety than men and were less likely to break the habit.
The health experts don’t know why this was, although it’s possible that anxiety, depression and other risk factors more common in women make quitting more difficult.
Women find it harder to quit smoking than men, despite smoking fewer cigarettes, new study reveals (stock image)
Lung cancer patients who quit smoking after diagnosis live about TWO YEARS longer than those who continue to use cigarettes
According to a 2021 study, lung cancer patients who quit smoking at diagnosis live an average of two years longer than those who continue to smoke.
Researchers in Moscow recruited 517 adults in early stages of lung cancer diagnosis.
For an average of seven years, the participants were routinely interviewed to determine how often they smoked and other medical and lifestyle changes.
Researchers found that 45 percent of people diagnosed with lung cancer stopped smoking cigarettes, and those who lived longer lived longer without lung cancer and had a longer time to death by nearly two years.
Read more: Lung cancer patients who quit smoking live about 2 years longer
“The findings suggest that despite smoking fewer cigarettes and being less nicotine dependent than men, women find it more difficult to quit,” said study author Ingrid Allagbe, a doctoral candidate at the University of Burgundy, Dijon, France.
‘Possible contributors could be the higher prevalence of anxiety, depression and overweight or obesity in women.
“It has been previously reported that women may face several barriers to smoking cessation, related to fear of weight gain, sex hormones and mood.
“Our findings highlight the need to provide smoking cessation interventions that are tailored to women’s needs.”
The research will be presented at the 2021 ESC Congress – the “most anticipated gathering of cardiovascular professionals” of the year – taking place this weekend.
However, this means that it has yet to be published as a peer-reviewed paper.
Louise Ross, an expert at the National Center for Smoking Cessation and Training who was not involved in the study, thinks smoking has a “strong emotional bond” for women.
“Women are much more emotionally attached to their cigarettes,” she told MailOnline.
“Often it’s a break between tasks – looking after small children, looking after relatives or doing housework.
“Every time they need a break, they smoke a cigarette and it’s a bit of ‘me time’.”
Ross, who is involved in helping people quit smoking, has found that women often describe cigarettes as “a best friend.”
“When men decide to quit, they often have a very practical and pragmatic view of it — they just decide they’re going to quit and go for it,” she explains.
Smoking cessation services that are more tailored to women could be e-cigarettes, with a more practical or attractive design.
The NHS says: ‘Quitting smoking is one of the best things you will ever do for your health. When you stop, you give your lungs a chance to recover and you can breathe easier.”
Jacob George, a professor of cardiovascular medicine and therapies at the University of Dundee, who was also not involved in the study, commented on the findings.
“These are interesting data that reinforce the need to focus on smoking cessation in women,” he told MailOnline.
‘Data suggest that women experience disproportionate adverse effects from smoking tobacco cigarettes in terms of various health problems.
“But on a positive note, they also benefit significantly more in terms of vascular health when they switch from smoking tobacco cigarettes to other devices such as electronic cigarettes.”
Louise Ross, an expert at the National Center for Smoking Cessation and Training, told MailOnline that vaping is a much better option than smoking (stock image)
Previous studies have suggested that e-cigarettes may lead to nicotine addiction and not necessarily reduce the risk of heart and lung damage.
But Ross said she’s “always happy to see someone vaping” because it means they don’t smoke — and the difference between the health risks of smoking and vaping is huge.
For her research, Allagbe compared characteristics and abstinence rates of men and women who attended smoking cessation services in France between 2001 and 2018.
A total of 37,949 smokers aged 18 and older participated in the study, of whom 16,492 (43.5 percent) were women.
The mean age of women in the study was 48 years, while the mean age of men was 51 years.
WHAT IS OBESITY?
Obesity is defined by your body mass index (BMI) – a measure of body fat based on your weight in relation to your height.
If you have a BMI of 30 or higher, you are obese. If it is between 25 and 29.9, you are overweight.
- BMI = (weight in pounds) / (height in inches x height in inches)) x 703
- BMI = (weight in kilograms / (height in meters x height in meters))
- Under 18.5: underweight
- 18.5 – 24.9: Healthy
- 25 – 29.9: overweight
- 30 or higher: obese
Smokers all had at least one additional risk factor for cardiovascular disease — including high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, a history of stroke, heart attack or angina.
Another risk factor was whether or not they were overweight or obese (meaning they had a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or more.
A nicotine dependence scale was used to classify participants as having mild, moderate, or severe dependence when it came to smoking.
Smoking abstinence (at least 28 consecutive days without smoking) was self-reported and confirmed by measurement of exhaled carbon monoxide below 10 parts per million (ppm).
Participants also provided information about their education level, height, weight, and anxiety or depression.
The results showed that both men and women were at high risk for cardiovascular disease.
High cholesterol was more common in men than women (33 percent of the sample compared to 30 percent, respectively), while high blood pressure was also more common in men — 26 percent versus 23 percent — as well as diabetes (13 percent versus 10 percent).
A higher proportion of women (27 percent) were overweight or obese compared to men (20 percent).
In addition, women (37.5 percent) were more likely to have symptoms of anxiety or depression than men (26.5 percent).
This study compared characteristics and abstinence rates of men and women who used smoking cessation services in France between 2001 and 2018 (stock image)
Finally, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease was more common in women (24 percent) than in men (21 percent), as well as asthma (16 percent vs. 9 percent).
“The results indicate that there is a need for comprehensive women’s smoking cessation programs that offer a multidisciplinary approach involving a psychologist, dietitian and exercise specialist,” Allagbe concluded.
According to a 2020 study by University of Bristol academics, loneliness makes it harder to quit smoking.
Possible explanations for the finding include that cigarettes are a source of comfort or anxiety relief, or that they provide a known activity that can fill long periods of time.
Smoking causes THREE times as many cells to be infected with coronavirus
Cigarette smoking increases the risk of serious coronavirus infection by dampening the body’s immune response, a new study suggests.
Laboratory studies on airway models made from human stem cells reveal that smoking prevents the immune system’s key molecules called interferons from working properly.
Interferons are messengers that tell infected cells to make proteins to attack the invading pathogen, and are essential for fighting off initial infection.
They also evoke support from the broader immune system and warn uninfected cells to prepare for the virus.
The study found that smoking causes this pathway to malfunction, causing an up to threefold increase in the number of human cells infected by the virus.