We all know that smoking is bad, and we are stern with our children about not smoking. But increasingly, our kids have the opportunity to see their idols engaging in bad behavior. Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, and Lindsay Lohan, all wildly popular with preteen girls, have all been caught in one scandal or another – smoking, drinking, using drugs.
Thanks to new technology, all of this ends up on camera, and eventually online. While we may try to control what are daughters are doing on the internet, we cannot always prevent them from seeing such images and wanting to engage in the same behavior.
What are the dangers of young girls and women smoking cigarettes?
- Lung disease and lung cancer are a leadng cause of death in women. In the 1980′s, more women died of lung cancer than breast cancer. Other lung diseases, which lead to serious medical problems and premature death, include COPD, or chronic obstructive lung disease, chronic bronchitis, emphysema and asthma.
- Other forms of cancer are also prevalent among smokers, and girls who smoke from a young age are particularly at risk. Cervical cancer, oral cancer, bladder and kidney cancers, and throat cancer are all directly related to smoking.
- The risk of stroke and other cardiovascular disease are also greatly increased by smoking. A woman who starts smoking at a young age is twice as likely to have a stroke as her non-smoking peers. Heart disease, the number one killer of women in industrialized nations, is directly related to smoking as well. Cigarettes also lead to high blood pressure, chest pain, and impaired heart function.
- The surface cosmetic effects of smoking can make a woman appear older than her true age. Premature wrinkling and discoloration of the hair and skin are an effect of smoking. It is also important to point out that smoking increases the risk of osteoporosis later in life.
So how can I get help if I want to quit smoking?
Your regular physician is the place to start. He or she can recommend a plan to help you quit and offer support for the process. There are prescription and over the counter medications that can help curb your nicotine cravings and help you gradually wean yourself off the drug.
What else can I do to quit?
Enlist the help of friends and family. Get those around you to support your efforts, and remember that you are doing yourself a tremendous favor. Making some of these changes to your daily habits can help, as well:
- Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs. They dim your judgment and increase nicotine cravings.
- Eat healthy – enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables, steer away from sweets and packaged foods, and get plenty of whole grains and lean protein. Keep yourself hydrated with water and stay away from soda.
- Meditate or try yoga, or some other relaxation method you enjoy. This will help to reduce the stress of avoiding cigars while you quit.
- Exercise. Enjoy a walk with a friend, or work out at a local gym. You will find enjoyment in the activity and improve your heart and lung condition at the same time.
- Use dietary supplements to replenish the drain that smoking puts on your system.