Study Suggests Vicious Cycle of Smoking Urges and Alcohol Consumption in Women

Women who are attempting to quit smoking may try to reduce their quitting-related stress by using alcohol, which in turn can lead to greater urges to smoke, a new study finds. This vicious cycle can increase the risk of smoking relapse, according to Science Daily.

The study included 302 women who were trying to quit smoking. They recorded their urges to smoke throughout the day, by using hand-held computers. Women were more likely to drink alcohol on days when they woke up with greater urges to smoke, the study found.

“Interestingly, these higher, more volatile smoking urges were reported before the individual actually began drinking, suggesting that alcohol consumption may have been in response to smoking urges rather than vice versa,” researcher Michael Businelle, PhD, of the University of Texas School of Public Health, said in a news release. “Identification of situations that increase the risk for relapse will aid in the development of novel interventions that can address these situations in the moment of occurrence.”

The study appears in Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology.

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