There’s a long, running debate about whether it’s more difficult for women or men to quit smoking. Regardless of the answer, one thing’s for sure. Everyone can give up tobacco if they find the right approach. These are some considerations that are especially helpful for women.
Nicotine Dependence for Women
- Avoid the patch if you’re pregnant. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise against nicotine patches for pregnant women. During pregnancy, women metabolize nicotine as much as 120 times faster, so the regular dose contained in the patch is ineffective. Nicotine replacement devices may work for women who are not expecting.
- Learn about nicotine receptors. Female smokers appear to have fewer nicotine receptors in their brain than male smokers. This suggests that giving up smoking for women is more complicated than just replacing nicotine.
- Use alternatives to nicotine replacement. Fortunately, there are many smoking cessation techniques that address more factors than nicotine alone. Browse online or consult your doctor to find out about your options.
Post-Smoking Weight Gain for Women
- Love your body. Women may be especially apprehensive about gaining weight if they stop smoking. Try to cultivate a healthy body image that lets you appreciate your individual beauty, regardless of your dress size.
- Put moderate weight gain in perspective. The average weight gain for former smokers is about 5 to 10 pounds. Smoking is much more risky than a few extra pounds.
- Guard against obesity. Obesity is a serious health issue. If you gain more than 10 pounds or continue to gain weight after 3 months, take prompt action to get back in control.
- Exercise more. Your metabolism may slow down when you give up cigarettes. Becoming more physically active will speed it up and improve your mood.
- Manage emotional eating. Women tend to have stronger tendencies to turn to food for comfort. Give yourself treats with no calories like bubble baths or time to read that new novel you’ve been dying to get into.
- Curb your appetite naturally. It’s easier to consume less when your hunger is satisfied. Sip water, herbal tea, or clear soup.
- Ask your doctor about Naltrexone. Naltrexone is a drug used to treat alcohol and drug addiction, but it also shows promise for helping female ex-smokers to avoid weight gain. Your doctor can help you determine if it might help you.
Additional Suggestions for Women Who Want to Quit Smoking
- Explore behavior-based approaches. The entire ritual of smoking is important to some women. Strategies like deep breathing and learning to deal with triggers, such as that morning cup of coffee that goes hand in hand with smoking a cigarette, can help women to persevere.
- Find other ways to deal with stress. It’s natural to reach for a cigarette when you feel tense. Form new habits like meditation or getting a massage.
- Join a traditional support group. Women are more likely to understand the value of social support. Ask your insurance provider or local hospital if they can recommend a group you can join.
- Get connected through social media. You can also find support on the Internet. Join an existing self-help group or start your own. Text each other words of encouragement.
- Talk with your doctor about non-nicotine medications. Many women find nicotine replacement devices helpful, but there are more options if you need them. Your doctor can tell you about a variety of drugs, including certain antidepressants, which have also been found to making quitting tobacco easier.
Quitting smoking is often the single most important thing you can do to improve your health. Experiment with the best approaches for women and talk with your doctor if you need more help.
Have quit smoking tips of your own? Please share in the comment section.