Smoking was mostly confined to men in earlier decades. But now, more women have taken up smoking as they find it as one suitable way to prove that they are equal to their men counterparts and find it fulfilling. The number of women smokers almost doubled during the period 2005 to 2010 and female smokers are outnumbering male smokers these days.
Health Consequences of Smoking in Women
Last 50 years have seen a 3-time rise in risk of death due to smoking in women and the statistics almost equal men’s risk. The staggering data is such that there are more cases of women dying from lung cancer these days compared to breast cancer.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has no cure and 90% of COPD cases are caused due to smoking as explained at www.firsteatright.com. Women smokers in specific age groups are 38-times likelier to develop COPD that women who have never ever smoked. Also, more number of women are dying from COPD compared to men and they seem more sensitive to developing COPD at a younger age. While heart disease as the primary cause of death was subjected to the men population until recently, women who smoke after the age of 35 are said to be at a greater risk of dying from coronary heart disease than men who smoke.
The ugliest side effect of smoking in women is the effect it causes on their fetus or baby. All of us may be passive smokers at some point, but when you subject your fetus to risks and consequences of smoking, this is unethical and inhuman. Smoking during pregnancy can have several side effects such as premature birth, low birth weight, birth defects or even affect the placenta (organ which helps in passing on nutrition from mother to fetus). It is better that the woman quits smoking while she is planning for a baby or at least as soon as she gets pregnant. If not, cessation at any stage of pregnancy can help to safeguard the health of the mom and the unborn baby.
Smoking in women not only affects the heart and lungs but can end up in cervical cancer too. Life expectancy of an any smoker is at least 10 years less than the life expectancy of non-smokers. Also, children are more around their moms and this makes them vulnerable to the smoke emitted from tobacco use. Exposure to secondhand smoking puts the children at an increased risk of ear infections, lower respiratory illnesses, severe asthma attacks, coughing, wheezing, sneezing and breathlessness. Also, teens are more likely to smoke if they have a family member or a close friend who smokes.
Help the Women in your Life Quit Smoking
Quitting tobacco use can be a difficult task as the person is addicted to nicotine by then. With the help of nicotine replacement products, such as gums and patches, medications and free consultations quitting becomes much easier. The advantages of quitting smoking are many-heart attack risks decrease enormously during the first year after quitting, stroke risk drops to the risk of a non-smoker within five years of quitting tobacco use and the risk of dying from lung cancer is shelved by 50% within 10 years of quitting.
While not all succeed in their first attempt to quit smoking, many are likely to start quitting after several attempts. One gets the motivation to quit by looking at the list of advantages that come along with the quitting factor.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.