Withdrawal and pre-menstrual symptomatology during the menstrual cycle in short-term smoking abstinence: Effects of menstrual cycle on smoking abstinence

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Abstract

This study employs a rigorous inpatient laboratory setting to test the hypothesis that withdrawal symptomatology in short-term smoking cessation in women is increased in the late luteal phase when pre-menstrual symptomatology is the highest. Twenty-one female smokers with clinical, anatomical, and hormonal verification of their menstrual cycle phase were randomized to either a smoking abstinence group (n = 16) or a continued smoking group (n = 5). Participants were admitted to the General Clinical Research Center during alternate phases of their cycle for two 7-day admissions with a 1-month interim period when they resumed smoking. Dependent measures, i.e., Minnesota Nicotine Withdrawal Scale scores, Questionnaire on Smoking Urges scores and Pre-menstrual Assessment Form scores were collected during 2 days of baseline and 5 days of smoking deprivation. Smoking behavior was documented by self-report, breath CO levels and saliva cotinine measurements. Withdrawal symptomatology was not affected by menstrual cycle phase during short-term cessation in spite of increased pre-menstrual changes seen in the late luteal phase. In addition, no phase effect on smoking behavior was detected and cigarette consumption remained stable across the cycle in both groups. These results suggest that for some smoking cessation studies, complex strategies to control for menstrual cycle effects may not be necessary. However, Smoking Urges scores did suggest increased desire to smoke and desire to relieve negative affect in the late luteal phase when women have higher pre-menstrual symptomatology. This suggests women may have greater difficulty quitting smoking in late luteal phase, and it seems prudent to recommend that women quit during the follicular phase of their cycle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-142
Number of pages14
JournalNicotine and Tobacco Research
Volume1
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1999

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