So apparently there’s an old wives’ tale that says it’s harder for women to quit smoking because they a) don’t want to gain weight, and b) their period makes the withdrawal symptoms particularly unbearable. The former reasoning seems plausible; quitting smoking can cause weight gain both because cigarettes speed your metabolism (and therefore, ditching them can slow it down), and because a lot of quitters use snacks to sate their oral fixation. But the latter seems like a too-common case of everyone blaming female emotions on menstruation that we’re just not buying. And according to a new study, science isn’t either.
The New York Times outlined a new study that’s the largest of its kind, proving that women are just as capable of quitting. Researchers at the University College London analyzed data from over 100,000 smokers in the U.S., Britain and Canada, taken from national surveys conducted in 2006-2007. Women were actually a little more likely to successfully quit before the age of 50. And while men were slightly more successful after the age of 60 according to the data, the researchers believe that may be due to higher mortality rates from smoking among men in that age range might be partly to blame (on the flip side, it seems a little far-fetched to blame the difference on menstruation for this age group).
The researchers’ main conclusion was that data just doesn’t support the idea that women have a harder time quitting; they also add that it’s important to dispel the myth to encourage women to try.
While it’s true that your period can get in the way of a lot of things, using it as a crutch is almost as lame as the studies and ads that claim women are automatically moody bitches because of it. Quitting smoking is hard, no matter how you cut it, but PMS isn’t a good excuse not to try.