Effects of Cigarette Smoking and Family History Of Alcoholism Linked To Love Of Sweets Among Women
Despite the greater health risks, women derive more pleasure than men from the smell and taste of cigarettes, are more likely to smoke as a way to reduce stress and feelings of depression, and use smoking as a diet tool. In fact, many women who try to quit smoking often relapse because of concerns about gaining weight.
"Cigarette smoking and having a family history of alcoholism had different effects on sweet-taste perception and food cravings," said Julie A. Mennella, a senior researcher at Monell and coauthor of the study. "Women who smoked cigarettes were less sensitive to sweet taste than women who never smoked.
This means that women who smoke required higher concentrations of a sweet solution in order to detect sweet taste; we also found that the more years a woman has smoked cigarettes, the less sensitive she will be to sweet taste." Whether the reduced sensitivity for sweet tastes helps smokers control their weight is an important question that needs further study, she added.
"Distortions of perception of sweet taste and craving for sweets have been reported in patients with various psychiatric conditions -- depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, premenstrual syndrome, several forms of obesity etc.