Childhood Physical or Emotional Abuse Linked to Smoking in Women

Women who suffered physical or emotional abuse in their youth are more likely to smoke than women who did not suffer such adverse childhood experiences, a new study suggests.

The researchers say treatment and strategies to help women quit smoking need to take into account the psychological effects of childhood trauma, Science Daily reports.

They collected data from more than 7,000 adults, about half of whom were women. They found women who had been physically or emotionally abused were 1.4 times more likely to smoke than those who were not abused. Having had a parent in prison during childhood doubled the chances of women smoking, they report in the journal Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention and Policy.

Noted lead researcher Dr. Tara Strine, “Since adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) increase the risk of psychological distress for both men and women, it seemed intuitive that an individual experiencing an ACE will be more likely to be a tobacco cigarette smoker. However, in our study, ACEs only to increased the risk of smoking among women. Given this, men who have experienced childhood trauma may have different coping mechanisms than their female counterparts.”

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