Thankfully the awareness of what smoking does to the body is higher than ever, and there’s no one who doesn’t know the risk factors it poses to the coronary and respiratory systems. For women though, smoking risks are a health concern category of it’s own.
Here’s how and why smoking poses a higher risk for women:
Studies indicate that women run a higher risk than men (as much as 80% higher) when it comes to cancers connected to the chemicals in cigarette smoke. Lung cancer is the most well known of the cancers connected to smoking followed by esophagus and larynx and mouth cancer. While these may not be surprising, it has also been found that women who smoke are much more likely to develop uterine, bladder and kidney cancers.
Fertility and pregnancy concerns:
This concern goes above and beyond the social taboo of pregnant women smoking. Women’s reproductive organs are especially sensitive to chemicals found in cigarette smoke. Whether a woman is are trying to conceive or not, being exposed to these chemicals hinders ovulation and impacts fertility health (from secondhand smoke as well).
Once a woman becomes pregnant the risks extend to the fetus as well. Smoking been linked to placental problems, premature birth, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth, vaginal bleeding and birth defects.
In addition to the health concerns listed above, there are some specific concerns for women who are menopausal or postmenopausal, including bone density, osteoporosis, stronger hot flashes and an earlier onset of menopause than women who don’t smoke. Not to mention the havoc it wreaks on physical appearance!
If you’re a woman who smokes, a former smoker or someone who wants to arm fellow women with the knowledge of the specific risk factors that smoking poses to her health, pass this information on. Knowledge is power and awareness can offer strength for those trying to kick the habit!