Despite the warnings and the obvious ill effects of smoking, more and more women are taking up cigarette smoking, cigars, and even pipe smoking from a younger age. We are all aware that smoking is bad for our health, but what effects does it have on women smoking cigarretes or pipes in particular?
The Effects of Smoking on Women
- Increased risk of lung cancer. It is estimated that 80% of lung cancer deaths in women was directly caused by smoking. In the late 1980′s, more women died of lung cancer from smoking than from breast cancer.
- Increased risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke. Smoking in women more than doubles their risk of heart disease and heart attack – the number one killer of both men and women in industrialized countries. Studies have also shown that young women who smoke have twice the risk of stroke as the non-smoking peers. The good news is, research has also shown that quitting smoking reduces the risk of stroke, and the risk continues to decrease over time.
- Increased risk of pulmonary disorders. Smoking is the direct cause of more than 90% of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) each year. Smoking also ups the risk of asthma, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis, which can cause serious consequences for women’s health, including premature death.
- Increased risks of other types of cancer. Smoking boosts women’s chances of developing oral cancer, cervical cancer, renal (kidney) cancer, cancer of the bladder, and cancer of the larynx or pharynx.
- Increased signs of premature aging. Smoking causes premature wrinkling of the skin, poor skin color, poor texture of the hair, and yellowing of the fingers. Smoking also depletes vital nutrients in your system, leading to diseases such as osteoporosis.
How can I get help if I want to quit smoking?
There are many avenues for you to pursue if you have decided to quit smoking. There are stop-smoking support groups and medications you can use to help reduce nicotine cravings while you quit. The best place to start is by talking to your doctor and discussing what you can do to ease the process. Your doctor can prescribe medications to help you quit, and there are over-the-counter remedies available as well. The most important thing is to stick to your plan.
Lifestyle Changes to Quit Smoking
If you have decided to quit smoking, you have already taken the first step toward better health. There are other changes you can make in your life to help ease the transition to being a non-smoker and to improve your general state of health and sense of well-being:
- Avoid recreational drugs and limit your intake of alcohol. These substances can impair your judgment and tempt you to resume smoking.
- Practice a stress management technique. Stress management methods such as yoga can help lower your body’s stress levels and help you cope with the difficulty of quitting.
- Get plenty of exercise. Exercise reduces your stress level, helps improve lung and cardiovascular function, and keeps off the extra pounds that sometimes come with quitting.
- Eat a healthy diet. Get plenty of fruits and vegetables. Avoid red meat, eat lean protein and plenty of whole grains, and drink plenty of water. Hydration is especially important to help replenish your body and restore skin tone.
- Use dietary supplements. Vitamins lost in smoking need to be replenished in order to help your body heal and let you feel your best.