Cigarette smoking is one of the most common forms of addiction. People who smoke find it hard to quit despite knowing the hazards associated with its use. It is a common fact that people who smoke (active smokers) not only raise their vulnerability to illnesses relating to respiratory diseases but also to the fatal disease of cancer.
Health Effects Of Smoking For Women
Research has found that not only active smoking but passive smoking (the inhaling of cigarette, cigar, and pipe smoke of others, especially by a nonsmoker in an enclosed area), also has as harmful effects on health over a period of time as active smoking.
The ill effects may take long in passive smoking to be evident but the intensity of effects is not less than active smoking. Passive smoking is also referred to as second-hand smoke (SHS), or environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), by persons other than the intended “active” smoker”.
Clinical data suggests that women find it more challenging to quit smoking than men, however, national data suggests that women are also quitting at rates comparable to or even higher than those for men.
Despite the awareness about the detrimental health effects of smoking during pregnancy, it still remains to be a major public health dilemma.
Although in recent years, the prevalence of smoking during pregnancy has declined, still a considerable number of women continue to smoke during pregnancy and only one -third of the women, who had ceased smoking during pregnancy, continued the practice of termination even a year later after the delivery.
Facts About Smoking Among Women
- A large study conducted among women in 2013 in United Kingdom found that 2 out of 3 deaths in smokers who were above 50 were caused by smoking. Researchers found that habitual smokers lose at least 10 years of their lifespans. The study suggests that If women cease smoking before the age of 30, they are able to avoid more than 97% chances of these early deaths.
- Each year more than 200,000 U.S. women die from smoking-caused diseases.
- Smoking predisposes women to increased risk of premature deaths. And more than six million women in the United States have died prematurely from smoking-related diseases.
- Cigarette smoking puts women to increased risk for heart attacks, strokes, lung cancers and emphysema.
- Smoking cuts down the expected life of a woman by at least 10 years, on average.
- Death rates among women were previously thought to be lower than men but findings provide sufficient evidence based data that smoker women have death rate three times higher than those who never smoked. Findings claim that.
Cardiovascular diseases are the number one killers of both men and women. Each year roughly 300,000 women die of CVS diseases. Smoking is a leading cause of cardiovascular diseases, including coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis and stroke, among others.
Smoker women double their susceptibility to die of heart attacks than non-smoking women. The risk of developing coronary heart disease increases with the number of cigarettes smoked per day, how early smoking was initiated and the length of time a woman has been smoking.
Women, Who Smoke Like Men Die Like Men
Women who smoke and use oral contraceptives are up to 40 times more likely to have a heart attack than women who neither smoke nor use birth control methods. Passive or second hand smoking increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases in non smoking women because their husbands or fathers smoke.
An estimated 71,000 women die from lung cancer each year. Death due to COPD (emphysema and chronic bronchitis) is 13 times more likely in female smokers as compared to non smoker females.
In 2009, an estimated 70,490 women died of lung and bronchus cancer. 90% of deaths due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or emphysema and chronic bronchitis each year are directly related to smoking.
In 2006, about 52 percent of all COPD deaths were in women. This is the seventh year in a row that women have outnumbered men in deaths attributable to COPD.
The risk of developing cancer for other vital organs such as oral cavity, pharynx, larynx (voice box), esophagus, pancreas, kidney, bladder, and uterine cervix also increases in smoker women. Smoking in postmenopausal females cause lower bone density than women who have never smoked.
Smoking also increases the risk of hip fractures and wrinkling of skin making them less attractive and die prematurely.
Smoking And Pregnancy
Smoking reduces a woman’s fertility. Time taken by smoker females to conceive is considerably longer than nonsmoker females, and the risk of not being able to get pregnant at all is also higher in smoker females.
The number of cigarettes smoked per day is associated with decreased fertility rates. Smoking increases the risk of ectopic pregnancy. It is a condition in which the embryo gets implanted outside the uterus.
The chance of survival is narrow for the fetus and cannot outlive such condition for long and is a potentially fatal condition for the mother.
A recent study found that smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of congenital heart defects in newborns. The more the women smoke, the higher the chances.
A major report has found the most common birth defects associated with smoking during pregnancy. The research found that missing or deformed limbs, facial disorders, club foot and gastrointestinal problems are the most common birth defects among offspring of smoker women.
The perils associated with passive smoking continue to be apparent due to ongoing process of research.
A new study published in the journal BMC Public Health shows that passive smoking and fetal exposure to smoking while pregnant significantly increase the risk of invasive meningococcal disease.
Mothers who smoke have double the rate of premature delivery compared to nonsmoking mothers.
There is a clear relationship between the number of cigarettes smoked during pregnancy and low birth weight babies. Smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke during pregnancy directly increase the risk of health and behavioral problems including: abnormal blood pressure in infants and children, cleft palates and lips, childhood leukemia, infantile colic, childhood wheezing, respiratory disorders in childhood, eye problems during childhood, mental retardation, attention deficit disorder, behavioral problems and other learning and developmental problems.
Smoking Raises Breast Cancer Risk
A mutation (change in genetic code) in a gene named BRCA2 is directly responsible for breast cancer in women and it is the most common cause of cancer in women.
Mutation of this gene in women increases 80% chances of developing breast cancer and since genes are transferred so that’s why family history of breast cancer is important since the risk increases in the next generation of females. Mutations to the BRCA genes stop DNA from repairing itself effectively.
In the context of smoking, it causes enormous damage to the DNA that any chances of repair of DNA are lost.
Researchers at the American Cancer Society have found an increased breast cancer risk among women who smoke, especially those who start smoking before they have their first child In a study, published online February 28, 2013 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers analyzed data from 73,388 women in a cohort study.
A cohort is a study that follows a large group of people over time. During more than 13 years of follow-up, researchers counted 3,721 cases of invasive breast cancer. The rate of new cases was 24% higher in smokers than in nonsmokers and 13% higher in former smokers.
According to researchers risk of breast cancer increases many fold if alcohol drinking is in collaboration with smoking habit.
The risk of invasive breast cancer was highest in women who began smoking at an earlier age.
When compared to women who never smoked, those who started smoking before their first menstrual cycle had a 61% higher risk, while those who started smoking after their first cycle, but 11 or more years before having a child, had a 45% higher risk. The researchers also found that these results were supported by the findings of earlier cohort studies.
When combining the results of 9 studies (including this one), they found a 12% increase in breast cancer risk among women who started smoking at a younger age, and a 21% increase in risk among women who started before the birth of their first child.