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

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for this study was provided by NIH/NIDA R01DA08075 , NIH/NIDA/OWHR P50-DA033942 and The University of Minnesota Foundation ( 4165-9295-13 ). Additional support was provided by the Masonic Cancer Center and the Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health Grant ( K12HD055887 ) from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), the Office of Research on Women’s Health , and the National Institute on Aging, NIH , administered by the University of Minnesota Deborah E. Powell Center for Women’s Health. (A. Allen). This publication was also supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health Award Number UL1TR000114 . The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. These funding sources had no role in the study design, collection, analysis or interpretation of data, writing the manuscript or the decision to submit the paper for publication.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


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


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