Here’s why women would find it harder to quit smoking

Tobacco has many adverse health effects. But when it becomes an addiction, it’s hard to give up smoking. According to a recent study, quitting smoking would be particularly more complicated for women.

Have you decided to quit smoking? Congratulation ! However, if the “crack” is never far away, that you think about it daily and that you seek to compensate by all means, you will have a good excuse to present to all those who point out your stress and your foul mood during this ordeal. : quitting smoking would be particularly difficult for women.

Indeed, as reported The Parisiana Swedish study carried out by researchers from the University of Uppsala and presented at the annual meeting of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) in Vienna this October establishes that the impact of nicotine on the brain women would make it more difficult for them to quit smoking.

According to them, a single cigarette would be enough to block the production of estrogen in the brain of women (a hormone present in greater quantities in the latter), which is involved in the reproductive process and the menstrual cycle. If this effect was presumed up to now, this work has therefore made it possible to demonstrate it. More generally, this phenomenon could explain the fact that quitting smoking is more complicated for women.

Directly observe the action of nicotine on the brain

To carry out their work, the Swedish scientists gave a dose of nicotine equivalent to a cigarette to ten women, administered nasally. The volunteers also received an injection of a radioactive tracer aimed at monitoring aromatase, an enzyme responsible for the production of estrogen.

Thanks to the injected tracer, scanners made it possible to observe the quantity of aromatase and its position in the brain. The researchers thus discovered a drop in the enzyme from the first dose of nicotine.

The research team rate the impact of nicotine as “moderate”, but were especially surprised at how quickly they saw its effects. “We evaluated the effect over 90 minutes after the administration of nicotine”, underlines Erika Comasco, professor at the University of Uppsala and specialist in mental health.

But then, if nicotine has an impact on estrogen production and the brain, how could this translate into our behavior? The researchers would have noted the decrease in aromatase in the thalamus, a nerve center involved in emotions, behavior but also addictions.

It is therefore very likely that the gender of the smoker and their difficulties in quitting smoking are linked. “Our study does not assess resistance to quitting smoking”, nevertheless warns Erika Comasco. Additional studies must therefore be carried out to better understand the effects of nicotine on women and their addiction.

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