It is well-known that smoking causes serious health risks for both men and women. Yet our culture persists in glorifying smoking, making it seem attractive, sophisticated, and pleasurable. With the explosion of social networking sites and streaming video on the internet (like youtube), more people are exposed to idealized images of harmful behavior than ever. What are the effects of cigar and cigarette smooking, especially on women? women smoking cigarettes?
Lung disease is perhaps the most dangerous health risk imposed by smoking. It is estimated that smoking is reponsible for at least 80% of lung cancer deaths in the United States alone. But many other types of lung disease are caused or aggravated by smoking, inlcuding asthma, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. All of these can seriously impair the health of an individual and case premature death.
Heart disease is one of the most significant causes of premature death. Heart attack, high blood pressure, chest pains, shortness of breath – all are signs of cardiovascular disease. Stroke is also inculded in this category – women who smoke are twice as likely to suffer from a stroke as non-smokers.
Complications During Pregnancy & Birth Defects
Women who smoke during pregnacy are putting both themselves and their unborn children at risk. Smoking causes high blood pressure, which can cause serious health issues for pregnant women, including stroke, heart attack, and the risk of a miscarriage. For the newborn, there is an increased danger of low birth rate, impaired mental function, respiratory problems, and other developmental issues.
Besides lung cancer, there are many other cancers associated with smoking. Cervical cancer, an extremely dangerous form of cancer in women, is one. Among others are kidney and bladder cancer and cancer of the mouth and throat.
Women who are already in a high-risk category for osteoporosis increase their chances of experiencing significant bone loss when they smoke. This silent disease is reponsible for many older women experiencing bone breakage, infections, loss of mobility, and loss of independence as they age.
While many women would like to believe they appear more attractive, sexy and sophisticated when they smoke, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Smoking smells bad, infusing hair and clothing with the odor, and it stains the hands and teeth. Cigarette smoke also causes the skin to age prematurely and depletes the nutrients that keep hair looking soft and appealing. And that hoarse cough of the veteran smoker is far from alluring.
If you are a smoker, the biggest gift you can ever give yourself is to quit. There is help available – your doctor is a good source of information and advise, and he or she can direct you to aids to help you overcome your addiction. Enlist the support of your close friends and family – they will appreciate that you are trying to improve your health.
Most of all, don’t give up. Quitting smoking is tremendously hard, and if you don’t make it the first time, you can always start over. Give yourself a chance at life.