Gender differences could impact stopping smoking

by Jenny Novac on March 21, 2013

Gender differences may clarify why women consider it more problematic to stop smoking than men, as outlined by a new research.

The review of 1,000 people throughout the UK identified female smokers smoke more often alone and see smoking as a psychological stimulant for beating stress, while men are more likely to use cigarettes as a binding process to enjoy.

Smoking Man and Woman

Man and woman lighting up cigarettes

Psychologists point out that the results indicate women often see smoking as a psychological crutch, which can make it more difficult for them to stop smoking. One in three smoking women mostly smoke when stressed, in contrast to less than a quarter of smoking men.

The survey identified that far more smoking men than women mentioned they smoke mostly when out drinking and socialising in public places.

March represents seven years since the launch of the smoking ban across Scotland, at which time 26 percent of Scottish adults are smokers.

The research, carried out by Edinburgh-based electronic cigarette company SkyCig, analyzed the differing habits, behaviours and thoughts that motivate smokers of both genders to continue smoking.

The company’s results indicate that gender differences regarding smoking may have an influence on which type of help may be most successful in helping smokers stop smoking.

Behavioural Psychologist Jo Hemmings said: “One of the difficulties with smoking is that the behavioural signals which make people take a cigarette have become seriously inserted in their lives, indicating that smoking is often an auto-response, rather than a conscious choice. Stopping these embedded habits can be extremely problematic.

“These psychological aspects don’t respond well to simple nicotine replacement treatments – many smoking people need the feel to have the pleasure ritual related to smoking – in other words, a cigarette-style prop, without the harmful effects.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: “Stopping smoking services are already adapted to individual requirements and they will continue on working to support smokers in stopping smoking – people control their own health and change their habits.

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