THE RIGHT TIME FOR WOMEN TO QUIT SMOKING
Women smokers seeking to kick the habit have a greater chance of success if they do so in the days before their menstrual cycle, say scientists from the University of Minnesota.
Surges and lulls in levels of the sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone during a typical 28-day cycle could affect the severity of nicotine withdrawal symptoms, they suggest. The hormones might also influence the speed at which nicotine is removed from the blood.
Already there is evidence of links between periods and mood swings, with drug/alcohol-relapse implications for women in early recovery. It might also explain why women tend to light up more at certain points.
The study tested 200 women, half of whom were asked to give up smoking in the ‘follicular’ stage of their cycle, the time between a period ending and ovulation, when an egg is relased from the ovary. The other half were asked to give up in the ‘luteal’ stage, the fortnight or so beween ovulation and the start of the next cycle. After 30 days, only 20% of the women who quit in their follicular phase were still smoke-free. In the luteal group, the success rate was 40%.