Use of hormonal contraceptives and smoking cessation: A preliminary report

Alicia M. Allen, Samantha Carlson, Lynn E. Eberly, Dorothy Hatsukami, Megan E. Piper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Although endogenous sex hormones influence smoking-related outcomes, little is known about the effect of exogenous sex hormones. Therefore, the goal of this preliminary study was to examine differences in withdrawal symptoms and cessation between women using hormonal contraceptives (HC), women not using hormonal contraceptives (no-HC) and men. Utilizing data from two recently completed smoking cessation randomized clinical trials, we selected participants who were between the ages of 18–35 years old. Participants were classified based on use of hormonal contraceptives and gender, then matched based on pharmacotherapy randomization assignment and baseline cigarettes per day. Participants provided self-reported assessments on withdrawal, craving and negative affect, and smoking status was assessed for 52 weeks after quit date. Participants (N = 130) were 28.7 ± 0.4 years old and smoked 16.8 ± 0.6 cigarettes/day. Compared to both no-HC and men, the HC group had significantly greater withdrawal one week prior to the quit date, on the quit date and one week after the quit date. During the first week of attempted abstinence, craving declined in HC and in men, but increased in no-HC. At end of treatment, the HC group was at 3.73 times higher odds of being abstinent compared to men (95% confidence interval: 1.12–12.40). There were no group differences in abstinence rates at Week 26 or 52. These data suggest that HC users may experience more adverse levels of withdrawal, though may be more likely to achieve short-term abstinence. Future research is needed to replicate our observations and explore mechanisms of action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)236-242
Number of pages7
JournalAddictive Behaviors
StatePublished - Jan 2018


  • Cessation
  • Craving
  • Gender/sex differences
  • Hormones
  • Withdrawal
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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