News Release

January 5, 2010

Contact: Chris DeFrancesco, 860-679-3914

Exercise or Relaxation: Key to Helping Older Women Quit Smoking?

UConn Health Center Recruiting Postmenopausal Smokers for Study

FARMINGTON, CONN. – Researchers at the University of Connecticut Health Center are studying the impact of exercise or relaxation on postmenopausal women who are trying to quit smoking.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse awarded a $4 million grant to Dr. Cheryl Oncken, a nationally recognized expert on smoking cessation, to conduct the research, in collaboration with the University of Minnesota.

"Our study includes postmenopausal smokers who have a greater risk of lower bone density and related fractures than younger women,” Oncken says. “We chose to examine exercise or relaxation treatments because they may influence smoking quit rates. They may also have an effect on weight gain, mood symptoms, and bone loss that can occur with smoking cessation."

Oncken, an associate professor of medicine and obstetrics and gynecology at the UConn Health Center, plans to study about 300 postmenopausal women who are at least 45, who smoke at least 10 cigarettes per day, who are in generally good health, and who are motivated to quit smoking. Study participants will receive behavioral counseling and the medication varenicline (sold under the trade name Chantix), then be assigned at random to either a supervised exercise program or a supervised relaxation control program.

"The great aspect of this study is that everyone receives maximal treatment for smoking cessation," Oncken says.

To learn more about the study or to become a study participant, call 860-679-3136 or visit

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