Why It's Harder for Women

The attack on cigarette ads usually focuses on their role in enticing people to begin smoking. But ads also affect the behavior of smokers who’d like to quit. Discussing the reasons why women apparently have a harder time kicking the habit than men do, a bulletin from the National Institutes of Health notes, “Many women may enjoy the feeling of control associated with smoking a cigarette.” Now, where do suppose aperson (male or female) might get the idea that an addictive behavior offers a “feeling of control”? From tobacco ads, naturally, which depict smokers as a happy, confident, in-charge bunch. They’re a slender bunch, too, and the report (which summarizes one medical researcher’s review of the smoking-cessation literature) suggests women are “more fearful than men of gaining a lot of weight if they quit.”