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Drinking Can Derail Women's Efforts to Quit Smoking
Date:2/15/2013

FRIDAY, Feb. 15 (HealthDay News) -- You're sharing a bottle of wine at a party or sipping a margarita at the bar when you feel a strong urge for a cigarette -- even though you've quit smoking.

Unfortunately, willpower is all too weak in these situations, new research suggests.

Women trying to stop smoking may at greater risk for relapse if they drink alcohol, according to the study from the University of Texas School of Public Health. Researchers found that women who drink to cope with the stress of trying to kick the habit may actually trigger more intense urges to smoke.

Awareness of this effect may spur strategies to help drinkers tempted to return to tobacco.

"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 in a UT news release.

The researchers tracked the smoking urges of 302 Seattle women aged 18 to 70 who were in the process of giving up smoking. The study, which was conducted from 1999 to 2002, focused on women because they have more difficulty quitting.

The women used hand-held computers to record their urges to smoke throughout the day. Participants also completed an assessment of each smoking urge they experienced. 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," Businelle noted.

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 smoking may turn to alcohol to ease the stress of trying to quit, the researcher say. However, since drinking actually triggers more i
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