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Women and Smoking

Tests have shown that women may, on average, find it harder to give up smoking than men. This is despite the fact that women are often more at risk than men to smoking related diseases. Some of the reasons are physiological and some are sociological. Also, a woman's menstrual cycle can affect the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. Smoking can interrupt the menstrual cycle and may cause women to enter menopause earlier than otherwise. Depending on what phase their cycle is when they start an anti-smoking programme, it may alter how they respond to some quit smoking treatments. Among the sociological factors, women tend to be more concerned about gaining weight if they try to stop smoking. Women may also be more susceptible to environmental factors than men, associating smoking with specific moods or friends. Women and girls may be more susceptible to peer pressure and advertising enticing them to start smoking.Women smokers are just as vulnerable to serious health problems like lung cancer or cardiovascular disease as their male counterparts. In women, however, smoking carries an increased risk of cardiovascular disease because it can affect their hormones, causing an oestrogen deficiency. Women smokers are 10 times more likely to die from bronchitis or emphysema and 12 times more likely to die from lung cancer than non-smoking women. The rates of life-threatening smoker-related diseases are even worse for post-menopausal women and women taking birth control pills. Women who smoke and are also taking oral contraceptives may have an increased risk of a heart attack or stroke. If you are a woman smoker aged between 35 and 64 then you are statistically nearly five times more likely to suffer from a stroke than a non-smoking woman the same age.In the United States, lung cancer now accounts for 25% of all cancer deaths among women and has surpassed breast cancer as the leading form of cancer death. Smoking is believed to double the risk of cervical cancer. About 30% of all cervical cancers have been attributed to women smoking.Smoking by women puts them at a higher risk of early menopause and infertility. If women smoke more than a pack of cigarettes a day or they started smoking before they were 18 years of age then they are placed at a greater risk of infertility. Women who smoke are also put at higher risk of developing osteoporosis and other degenerative bone disorders. Smoking hinders the flow of blood to the bones and retards the creation of the cells that form new bone.