Smoking and Women’s Health – Know The Risks of Smoking For Women
Smoking is harmful to everyone, but its effects differ depending on a few factors. One of those factors is gender. Women have to deal with all the negative effects any smoker would, however, they are also exposed to the risks of gynecological cancers, pregnancy issues such as sudden infant death syndrome or going through menopause at an earlier age.
According to the Surgeon General, annually, smoking kills an estimated 201,770 women in the US, with 13.6% of the female population smoking. In fact, over the last fifty years, a woman’s risk of dying from smoking has tripled.
Smoking puts women at an increased risk of heart disease, lung cancer, and many other illnesses. With 1 in 4 women dying of heart disease within the US, it is likely that smoking is the cause of a large proportion of those deaths.
Furthermore, many women are exposed to secondhand smoke. Although this may not affect women to the same extent, it is still highly detrimental to their health.
Other diseases that can be traced to smoking are:
- Chronic Bronchitis
Younger women, between the ages of 20-34 make up the age group that smokes most. In Canada, 19.2% of females in that age group smoke and that rate is similar in the US. It is believed that younger women smoke more, due to a combination of greater exposure to marketing and social smoking.
How Does Cigarette Consumption Affect Women Differently?
Smoking affects women more than it does men, due to there being additional health risks.
Research suggests that women are twice as likely to suffer a heart attack and that they are also more likely to develop lung disease. Furthermore, it suggests that women find smoking even more addictive than men, and therefore will probably smoke for longer. This means the health of the average female smoker is likely to be worse than that of a man.
Women are also affected by smoking in different ways to men. Women can suffer from gynecological cancers, lower bone density, accelerated hair loss and it can also affect the process of their pregnancy.
Lower bone densities can lead to osteoporosis. This disease, especially in later life can be very problematic. It exposes you to breaking bones and easily fracturing them. This issue can usually be avoided by quitting early and ensuring your diet is healthy. Your doctor may suggest other ways of combating low bone density.
To prevent gynecological cancers, it is recommended that you get regular checks if you do smoke. By doing this, you will hopefully catch cancer at an early stage and prevent it from spreading. Quitting smoking early will also reduce any chance of cancers developing and causing health issues. If you do suffer from gynecological cancer, then your doctor will recommend a suitable treatment for you to combat it and hopefully recover.
Why Do Men And Women Smoke Different Types Of Cigarettes?
Men and women’s differences in smoking habits may be down to nature or nurture. However, they have also been heavily influenced by marketing.
“Smoking Makes You Classier”
Advertising often depicted women who smoked, as being classier and stronger than other women. This reinforced women’s need for cigarettes so that they could be successful. Cigarettes have also been promoted as a weight loss tool in past advertisements, which may be the reason why women tend to smoke to avoid weight gain more than men. This is also evident from their choice of cigarette, such as slims, which are specifically targeted at young women. The name of the brand alone highlights the aim of the product.
According to the Surgeon General, women are drawn to smoking to deflect negative feelings, whereas men smoke to enhance positive ones. Young women were also much more likely to smoke menthol cigarettes, due to preferring the fresh feeling rather than the musky smell of an ordinary cigarette.
“Smoking Makes You Masculine”
On the other hand, men were drawn towards brands that presented themselves as masculines, such as Marlboro or Camel. This is due to the masculinity and femininity promoted by the brands during years of advertisement.
The impact of cigarette advertising on both men and women is evident for all to see. To the extent where the advertisement of tobacco products is now banned in many countries, due to its potential impact. Many countries have even placed gruesome warnings on packaging to deter potential buyers from cigarettes.
How Does Smoking Affect Women – Beauty And Advertising
Ironically, advertising presents women who smoke as beautiful and alluring. However, the effects of smoking present a very different reality.
Some of the ways smoking can affect physical appearance are:
- Bags under the eyes
- Bad breath
- Yellowing of teeth
- Skin conditions
- Yellowing of fingers
- Thinning Hair
- Wrinkles and Scarring
- Tooth Loss
These consequences highlight what smoking can do to someone and the inaccuracies of certain advertisements. Most of the beauty symptoms of smoking are reversible. This means that the sooner you quit, the better for both your health and your appearance.
Furthermore, quitting may make you a considerably happier person. The improvement in appearance after quitting may improve self-confidence, happiness and could improve your mental health, once you are no longer relying on tobacco and nicotine highs.
If you do experience any of these symptoms and are struggling to quit smoking, then you should seek medical advice on the best solution for you. Your doctor may start you on simple solutions such as nicotine gum.
Fertility And Smoking
Along with the other issues smoking causes people, it presents even more issues to women. Fertility is one of those issues. Women who smoke, or are exposed to secondhand smoke, are more liable to infertility and generally take longer to get pregnant.
Smoking affects all stages of the reproductive process, damaging both the sperm and the eggs’ DNA, making it harder to conceive at all, as well as increasing the possibility of birth defects or even miscarriage (1% increase in risk per cigarette smoked per day).
Smoking also increases the chance of sudden infant death syndrome. This is also known as crib death and occurs when you lose your baby before it is born or in the early stages of its life. Women that smoke far more likely have to go through this process. In this case, quitting is not only beneficial to your life, but to the life of your child.
Smoking can also cause early onset menopause and menstrual issues, all of which can contribute to issues getting pregnant.
How To Quit – Help And Motivation
In an age where smoking advertisements are now banned or forced to tell the truth, there is now more information than ever, on how to quit smoking.
However, the first step is understanding how bad it is for your health and the health of those around you. Once you have come to terms with that, there will be a greater motivation to quit. It is not recommended that you attempt to quit smoking alone, due to a mere 7% success rate of such attempts. Other methods such as nicotine replacement therapy, medication, and behavioral therapy, have higher success rates.
When quitting smoking, there is a variety of ways to approach the issue. You can approach it alone by using nicotine patches or nicotine gum. However, this takes a lot of self-restraint and motivation.
If you don’t believe you have the ability to quit alone, there is a number of facilities to help you, such as inpatient and outpatient treatment centers. Inpatient treatment centers will help those who struggle to motivate themselves to quit. Round the clock care and therapy make sure that you have the best chance of an effective detox. Cognitive behavioral therapy will aim to give you other outlets from stress other than smoking. This is in the hope that you are less likely to relapse.
You may also wish to continue therapy as an outpatient. Outpatient treatment allows you to keep your daily routine while regularly visiting a center for care. Although this process is much less strict, it still helps to quit by ensuring you stay on track. For more examples of ways of quitting and stress relief methods, visit this page: https://vapingdaily.com/quit-smoking/nicotine-replacement-therapy/