WOMEN trying to quit smoking are at greater risk for relapse when also drinking alcohol, according to a new study.
Women who drink alcohol to cope with the stress of trying to kick the habit may actually trigger more intense urges to smoke, the researchers at the University of Texas School of Public Health found. Between 1999 and 2002, they tracked the smoking urges of 302 women between the ages of 18 and 70 who were in the process of giving up smoking."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,” Michael Businelle, an assistant professor and study co-author said.
On days when the women drank alcohol, their smoking urges were different. "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.”
Women also were more likely to drink alcohol if they woke up with a strong urge to smoke. This suggests that women trying to stop may turn to alcohol to ease the stress of trying to quit, the researchers say. However, since drinking actually triggers more intense urges to smoke, it could increase women’s risk of relapse.