Women appear to be more sensitive to stress than men and would want to smoke more than men in anxiety situations.
Women are increasingly dying of tobacco: between 2002 and 2015, the number of female deaths attributed to smoking doubled. According to the National Institute of American Addiction, smoking cessation by nicotine replacement therapy is more effective in men than in women. Research at the North Carolina Medical School sheds new light on these results: women are more likely to smoke when exposed to stress than men.
A study done with the smartphone
To carry out this research, American scientists recruited 177 smokers (men and women). For two weeks, eight images were sent each day to the participants' smartphones. Some were related to tobacco: a person who smokes, a photo of cigarette ... Others generated stress, through images of violence or war, others finally, were neutral. Before and after viewing the snapshots, people had to answer a questionnaire about their emotional state (stress, negative emotions, etc.) and their desire to smoke. They also had to fill in the number of cigarettes smoked every day.
More stress but no more cigarettes
When they received images of war or violence, women were more stressed than men and also more likely to smoke. But there was no difference in the number of cigarettes smoked by the day. "It's possible that stress makes women smoke earlier than they would otherwise," says Rachel Tomko, one of the authors of this study.
A special lighter to better understand smoking
Scientists are still at the beginning of their research, they now want to be interested in daily hormone levels and their links to smoking. Soon, they will use a particular lighter to study more precisely the smoking: every time the smoker lights a cigarette, the lighter records the information. This will allow them to know the average time between the feeling of stress and the lighting of a cigarette. Ultimately, their goal is to find smoking cessation treatments that are better adapted to each individual and therefore more effective. The stakes are high because in France, between 2016 and 2017, the number of smokers fell sharply for all smoker categories except for one: women aged 45 to 54.