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2009: Time to Quit

Who finds it harder, men or women? - The New Year is coming soon, which is the time for all those resolutions. We?ll bet that a big one on every smoker?s list is quitting. Women have more withdrawal symptoms but they also have more reason to quit, because, contrary to what most women believe, smoking makes you fat.

A new study shows that smokers who carry a particular version of a gene that regulates dopamine in the brain may suffer from concentration problems when they try to quit?a problem that puts them at risk for relapse.Remember the cool girls, huddled together in high school restrooms, puffing their cigarettes? Well, here's consolation for the rest of us: Those teen smokers are more likely to get fat as adults.

Who finds it harder to quit?men or women? There's no evidence about this, but women tend to report more intense withdrawal symptoms, including depression, irritability, anxiety, lethargy, a reduced ability to concentrate, and weight changes. The average weight gain for women after quitting is 5 to 10 pounds. When pounds start adding up, some women get nervous and tense and start smoking again, even though that only makes them gain even more weight. Psychologist Sherry Pagoto says, "My hunch is that women are more likely to smoke for weight control, especially in adolescence. When people do quit smoking, one of the reasons they gain weight is that they increase their consumption of foods. They'll start snacking at the times they used to smoke."

Mayo Clinic researcher Patrick Draper says, "People need to realize that if they have a relapse, they can learn from it. The only way to stop smoking is to keep trying." Don?t forget: everyone can change.

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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