There are 23 million women still smoking in this country. Over 140,000 women will die this year from diseases and conditions related to their smoking. Today, most of the new generation of smokers will be our daughters. One and a half million girls in their teenage years smoke. The age where smoking is the greatest problem is from 25 to 44 years of age. Somehow we need to stop this trend. Just like alcohol, smoking affects women differently than men. We need to understand these differences so we can then make better decisions for our health.
Smoking Is a Poison: When you light up a cigarette, that smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals with 40 of those known to cause toxicity and cancer. These poisons damage the genes that are responsible for the healthy growth of cells. These cells then grow abnormally in the body. You are in effect damaging the genes in your body and if you pregnant, the genes of your unborn baby. Of the lifestyle factors that affect our health and longevity, smoking is the most preventable single factor.
Smoking is Still a Huge Problem: We moved to a small town of 100 people, and the majority of women all smoke. The few teenage girls that live here smoke, just like their parents. We don't go to community functions, because the smoking is so widespread. With this town being so small, the rules for not smoking in public places are ignored. Since more people smoke here, the non-smokers just stay away from town functions.When we visited San Diego recently, I noticed how many women I saw smoking. Smoking even in 2011 is a deadly problem.
The Impact of Smoking On Women's Health Is Deadly Including:
Higher Risk for Strokes: Women who smoke and use oral contraceptives are at higher risk for developing blood clots which result in strokes, heart problems, and heart attacks. After age 35, that risk increases again. Smoking increases your risk for stroke by 300 percent by itself.
Smoking and Cancer: Smoking increases the risk for every kind of cancer including lung cancer, cervical cancer, vulvar cancer, bone, kidney and breast cancer. Smoking is the cause in 80 percent of women's lung cancer cases. Smoking contributes to the development of cataracts and osteoporosis. Smoking will take 14.5 years off your life.
Smoking and Hormonal Problems: Smoking as a teen leads to early menopause later in life; menstrual problems such as heavier periods; missed or absent periods; and more infections and discharge than non-smokers. This is caused from the toxins in the cigarette smoke that poisons the body. Research has shown smokers have reduced estrogen levels. Pelvic inflammatory disease is suffered more often in women who smoke.
Smoking and Pap Smears: More abnormal Pap smear tests due to poisoning of the ovaries.
Smoking and Pregnancy: Despite all the information out there, only 18 to 25 percent of women stop smoking once pregnant. Smoking makes it more difficult to become pregnant. You can add months to your effort to conceive a child. If you continue to smoke once pregnant, that nicotine causes a constriction in the blood vessels of the umbilical cord and uterus. The baby has less oxygen to breathe inside the womb. That baby may have reduced blood flow to its body. You are willingly hurting the development of that baby by your smoking.
Smokers have miscarriages twice as often than non-smokers. Smokers more often need a C-section delivery because of pregnancy complications. You are at greater risk for your baby dying in the womb or being born stillborn. Smoking causes placenta problems including placenta previa, placental abruption, and premature rupture of membranes. Smoking is the main reason for premature or low-birth weight babies. 300,000 babies die each year because they are just too small to survive. Premature babies suffer many more health problems and are at higher risk for SIDS and death. In fact, the SIDS rate is double with mothers who smoke.
Smoking and Nursing: Nicotine poisons your baby through nursing.This is literally impacting your child and his development. Smoking may cause abnormal brain growth and development. You and your smoking is affecting his future and health in every way.
Smoking and Children's Health: Insurance records show that the children of smokers suffer from asthma, colds, and upper respiratory complaints more often than children of non-smokers. The toxic smoke affects their immune function and the health of their developing lung tissue.
Smoking and Vitamin Depletion: When you smoke, it depletes your store of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, beta carotene, and antioxidants. These nutrients are needed for a healthy immune function which protects you from cancer and other diseases.
Harder To Quit: According to statistics, once a female starts smoking, she is less likely to be able to quit than her male counterpart. Since teenage girls are the greatest risk age group to become new smokers, this is bad news.
I hope this article makes you realize that the next step you need to take, is to go get help to stop smoking. Each year you continue to smoke, you shorten your life. There is help out there, but it is up to you to take that first step. If you have ever watched a person die from lung cancer, you don't want that path. Each of us has the choice to quit before it is too late.