The effect of combination oral contraceptives on smoking-related symptomatology during short-term smoking abstinence

Katie Hinderaker, Alicia M. Allen, Nicole Tosun, Mustafa al'Absi, Dorothy Hatsukami, Sharon S. Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Although an estimated 25% of premenopausal smokers report using oral contraceptives (OC), little is known about how OC use may influence smoking cessation. The purpose of this study was to examine the difference in smoking-related symptomatology during acute smoking abstinence between women on a standardized combination OC (Tri-Sprintec) compared to women not on OCs (no-OC).Participants were women aged 18-40 who smoked ≥. 5 cigarettes/day and reported regular menstrual cycles. Using a controlled cross-over design, participants completed two six-day testing weeks: Low Progesterone Week (LPW; Follicular (F) phase in no-OC or 1st week of pills in OC) and High Progesterone Week (HPW; Luteal (L) phase in no-OC or 3rd week of pills in OC). Each testing week included daily assessment of symptomatology and biochemical confirmation of smoking status. During smoking abstinence, the OC group (n. =. 14) reported significantly lower levels of positive affect (21.56. ±. 7.12 vs. 24.57. ±. 6.46; β. =. 3.63, p. =. 0.0323) than the no-OC group (n. =. 28). Further significant interactions between group and testing week were observed as follows: Smoking satisfaction was higher during LPW in the OC group (LPW: 4.29. ±. 1.30 vs. HPW: 4.10. ±. 1.37) but higher during HPW in the no-OC group (LPW: 3.91. ±. 1.30 vs. HPW: 4.23. ±. 1.30; β. =. -. 0.5499, p. <. 0.0001). Similar interactions were noted in negative affect and psychological reward of smoking. These results suggest that women on OCs may have different patterns of smoking-related symptomatology during short-term smoking abstinence as compared to women not on OCs. Additional work is needed to examine how this may affect smoking cessation efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)148-151
Number of pages4
JournalAddictive Behaviors
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Cessation
  • Females
  • Hormones
  • Nicotine
  • Smoking
  • Withdrawal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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