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December 2008 Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource Highlights Happiness, Dementia and Smoking
Date:12/9/2008

elpful, too.

Effort to Stop Smoking is More Intense for Women

ROCHESTER, Minn. -- No evidence can confirm if men or women have more success in efforts to stop smoking.

But, according to the December issue of Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource, women tend to report more intense withdrawal symptoms, including depression, irritability, anxiety, lethargy, a reduced ability to concentrate, and weight changes. The average weight gain for women after quitting is 5 to 10 pounds. When pounds start adding up, some women get nervous and tense and start smoking again.

For women and men, stopping is difficult and usually takes four to six tries to successfully quit. "People need to realize that if they have a relapse, they can learn from it," says Patrick Draper, a tobacco treatment specialist at Mayo Clinic's Nicotine Dependence Center. "The only way to stop smoking is to keep trying."

Draper proposes four important steps for breaking the addiction:

  • Set a quit date or a quit time frame: Set a date and stick to it; or a time frame such as in the next 30 to 60 days.
  • Choose some form of pharmacotherapy: People who use pharmacotherapy can at least double their chances of quitting. Options include a nicotine patch, gum lozenge, inhaler or nasal spray, which can reduce nicotine cravings. Antidepressants, such as bupropion (Wellbutrin, Zyban), or varenicline (Chantix), a medication that acts on the brain's nicotine receptors, can decrease nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
  • See a tobacco treatment specialist or counselor: No cookie-cutter approach helps people quit smoking. A specialist can help develop an individualized treatment plan.
  • Get support: Find a least one person for support, for example, a friend, family member or a connection made through an online support group. Stopping alone is hard. '/>"/>

SOURCE Mayo Clinic
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