Tobacco use particularly smoking is widely recognized by the medical community as well as the general public as a major public health hazard. It is the single most important preventable risk to human health and an important cause of premature deaths worldwide. Risk from tobacco smoke is not limited to the smoker alone but also affects those around them. This is called second hand smoke or passive smoking.
Women smokers suffer all the consequences of smoking that men do such as increased risk of various cancers and respiratory diseases but women also can develop numerous other smoking-related health risks which are uniquely theirs.
Smoking is a major cause of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). This disease makes it hard to breathe, and it gets worse over time. There is no cure for COPD.
-Women are more likely to develop severe COPD at younger ages.
-Each year, more women die from COPD than men.
Women who smoke are more like to suffer from reproductive issues than women who don’t:
-They have more irregular or painful periods.
-They have low estrogen levels, which can lead to mood swings, fatigue, and vaginal dryness.
-Increased risk of early menopause. It is almost three times more than non smokers and it can occur two to three years earlier. Also they have worse symptoms.
– Smoking increases risk of infertility.
-Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) occurs more frequent in smokers than in non smokers. It is a painful disease that requires immediate medical intervention and often contributes to ectopic pregnancies as well as pelvic adhesions and other fertility problems.
People who smoke have an increased risk of heart disease—which is the number one cause of death for both women and men.
-Women smokers over the age of 35 have a slightly high risk of dying from heart disease as compared to men.
-Compared to men who smoke, women smokers have a greater risk of dying from an abdominal aortic aneurysm, which is a weakening of the main blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the body.
People who smoke have an increased risk of cancers, such as lung, pancreatic, kidney, liver, throat, bladder, and colorectal cancers. Certain cancer are more common in women :
-More women die from lung cancer than any other cancer, including breast cancer.
-Smoking is associated with an increased risk of cervical cancer. Cervical cancer patients who quit smoking or who cut down, by at least 75 percent, may have a greater chance of remission and survival than patients who continue smoking.
-Increased risk of vulval and rectal cancer
Smoking and Pregnancy
If woman become pregnant, the nicotine from smoking can harm the baby. Nicotine can affect their development before and after birth. Problems which can occur in the baby are :
-Higher risk of being born too early i.e. premature baby.
-Higher risk of serious birth defects, like a cleft lip or cleft palate.
-Lower chance of a healthy birth weight.
-Less likely to have normal brain development before birth and through early childhood.
-More likely to die from sudden infant death syndrome.
Quitting smoking lowers the risk of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy (a dangerous condition when the embryo implants outside the uterus).