More Reasons To Quit Smoking
By Rose Palazzolo, ABCNews.com
feel the urge to smoke in many situations, whether it be anger,
sadness or depression. Two new studies give smokers more reasons
with a smoke, soothe a nervous moment with a smoke and even calm
down a fit of anger and sometimes sadness by pulling out a cigarette
and lighting up.
A new study,
in the August issue of Nicotine & Tobacco Research, says
the tendency to light up when feelings of anger, joy and sadness
appear is the reason why people who may be described as "emotional"
have a harder time quitting. They say smokers who want to quit
would benefit greatly from cessation programs that deal with the
emotions of smoking.
negative affect may trigger smoking in some people, a process
that may explain the higher relapse rates following smoking cessation
that have been reported for high-hostile rather than low-hostile
and for depressed rather than non-depressed individuals," says
the study's lead author Ralph Delfino, of the University of California,
Improvements Seen After Short Time
study points out what appear to be fast health improvements from
quitting or even decreasing in smoking.
in the same issue of Nicotine & Tobacco Research by researchers
in Sweden, says that improvements in heart disease risk factors
can be seen within just weeks of quitting or reducing cigarette
into the study, 33 people who had taken up to four months to quit
smoking showed an average 17 percent reduction in carbon monoxide
levels in their blood. The drop, the authors say, lessens heart
disease risks factors as high cholesterol and low blood oxygen
on the road to smoking less or eventually quitting altogether
has a lot to do with tapping into the emotions behind the urge
to light up, say the authors of both studies. One of the keys,
they say, is helping the smoker identify the triggers.
"What is an
important lesson in this finding is that not everyone smokes for
the same reasons," said Edwin Fisher, professor of psychology
at the University of Washington and author of the American Lung
Association's 7 Steps to a Smoke-free Life.
A Smoking Divide by Gender
study also says that the impulse to smoke by "emotional" people
may differ, according to gender. The authors say that men were
more likely to smoke when angry and sad and women, while also
likely to smoke when angry, add a smoke to happy celebrations
but not necessarily to sad ones.
to smoke when angry turned out to be a bit stronger in men but
the urge was there for both," said Delfino. "The difference is
only slight in magnitude."
monitored 25 women and 35 male smokers over two 24-hour periods.
They monitored their blood pressure and asked them to write in
their diary before and after smoking.
line of this study is that both men and women feel the urge to
smoke for emotional reasons," Delfino said. "Smoking cessation
programs should take into account these emotion triggers."
have shown that women appear to be more susceptible to the addictive
properties of nicotine and have a slower metabolic clearance of
nicotine from their bodies than do men, according to the National
Women's Health Information Center, a service of the Office on
Women's Health in the Department of Health and Human Services.
The metabolic differences in men and women may be the reason why
the genders reach for a smoke at different emotional times, the
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