Quitting smoking is a decision that isn’t always easy but there is a right time to
do it if you are a woman according to a new study. Researchers from the University
of Montreal lead by head researcher Adrianna Mendrek shows that if women are looking
to quit smoking they should make note of their menstrual cycle first.
There are many different therapy programs that are available for people who are
trying to quit smoking. It is a hard habit to break and one that is often easier to
break if you have support from others who have been able to do it. Mendrek says that
some of these programs should be gender-specific due to findings with this research
project. The study followed 15 men and 19 women who were smokers. These participants
had no desire to quit smoking at the time of the study. They were all asked to smoke
a cigarette between 30 to 40 minutes before the study was conducted so they would
all have the same timing for their cravings roughly. All of the participants were
healthy before the study as well so that the results would be equal.
Once the study began the participants were shown photos of people smoking. They were
also shown neutral photos that had nothing to do with people smoking at all. Once
they were done they were shown the series again but this time they had to record how
much each of the photos made them want to go out and smoke. The women had to do this
twice. The researchers conducted the study on the women once while they were
menstruating and once while they were not to see if there was any difference.
What they found with the female participants was interesting. When the women were
done with their period but had not ovulated yet they had five different brain
centers spark up and give them cravings for a cigarette when they viewed the photos.
When they were in the middle of their period however there was only one area of the
brain that produced cravings lit up and it wasn’t very strong so the women did not
experience the cravings like they did before. The researchers concluded that this
was due to the amount of hormones that were running through their bodies at the time
of their periods. The amount of estrogen and progesterone seemed to dull the
cravings and withdrawal symptoms that the women had. This would indicate that if a
women were to try and quit smoking right when her period starts she may have a much
easier time quitting as the withdrawals and cravings would be nowhere near as bad.