What are the effects of smoking on my health?
By now, most women have heard that smoking causes heart disease and
lung cancer. But did you also know that:
- Lung cancer caused by cigarette smoking kills more women than breast
- Smoking is linked to osteoporosis--weak bones that can result in
a broken bone with normal activities?
- Smoking increases your chance of cervical cancer?
- Smoking increases the chance of a miscarriage or stillbirth?
- Smoking reduces your chance of having a healthy pregnancy and a
- Women who smoke go through menopause two years earlier than women
Why do women start smoking?
Smoking is an equal opportunity addiction. The advertising by tobacco
companies targeting women and girls has made a big impact:
- 23% of adult women are smokers compared to 27% of men.
- 35.2% of female high school seniors are current smokers.
The National Health Interview Survey showed an increase in smoking
initiated by girls around 1967 when cigarette companies began ads for
brands especially for women. Marketing cigarettes as "slims"
or "thins" plays into social pressures on young women to be
slender and more grown-up.
Why is it so hard to quit?
Nicotine addition is powerful and may be more powerful in women. Girls
and women have a more difficult time quitting than boys and men. Women
have lower quit rates and those between 12 and 24 years of age are more
likely to report being unable to cut down than boys and men the same
Girls are more likely than boys to report feeling dependent on cigarettes.
They are more likely to report feeling sad, blue or depressed during
attempts to quit.
What can I do to stop smoking?
Smokers who make a commitment can do it!
Start by talking to your doctor or provider and by reading our handout,
"How to become a former smoker."
Susan Flagler, DNS, ARNP
Family and Child Nursing
School of Nursing
University of Washington