Women and Smoking

Many women smoke to deal with stress. A lot of stress can come from the many jobs women can have at one time: wife; mother; helper; employee; caregiver. Women also have health issues that men do not have: menstrual periods; pregnancy; the pill; higher risk for osteoporosis (thin bones).

Quitting smoking reasons for women

Quitting smoking is stressful because it’s hard to stop. You may have to try and try again…and again. But once you quit, you will be healthier. Think about these reasons women should quit:

  • Very busy life: Smoking reduces energy levels. If you quit smoking, you will have more energy for all the jobs you do.
  • Pregnancy: Smoking causes a pregnancy to be “high risk”. Women who smoke are more likely to have:
    • Trouble getting pregnant.
    • Premature babies, babies with low birth weight.
    • Miscarriages and stillbirths.
    • Babies who die or SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome)
      • It can be very hard to stop smoking when you are pregnant. But quitting cigarettes is the best way to give your baby a healthy 
  • The pill: If you smoke, birth control pills may increase your chances for heart disease.
  • Early menopause: Beginning to smoke as a teenager increase a woman’s risk of early menopause by 2 or 3 years.
  • Osteoporosis: Smoking can lead to osteoporosis and the risk increase after menopause. Stopping smoking can lower your risk of broken bones.
  • Cancer: Smoking has been linked to cancer of the cervix in addition to other cancers, such as lung cancer.
  • Wrinkled, aging skin: Smoking can cause premature aging of the skin, wrinkles, and a leathery complexion.

A Few tips for stopping smoking

  • Set a quit date.
  • Studies show that it is harder for a woman to stop smoking just before and during her menstrual period. So, it is better to quit smoking after your period is over.
  • Learn what makes you smoke. Make a list and work on changing these habits 1 at a time.
  • Find new ways to cope with stress, and relax without smoking.
  • Ask friends and those you love to help you quit.

Bad News: Coronary heart disease is the single leading cause of death for American women. Smoking is a major cause of heart disease among women.

Good News: One year after you stop smoking, your excess risk of heart disease is half that of a smoker! After 5-15 years, the risk of stroke is about the same as for those who never smoked.

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Permission granted for use by GlaxoSmithKline and adapted from HealthCoach 4MeSM.