The latest research shows that smoking takes an average of 14.5 years off women's lives, but despite that alarming fact, 10% of South African woman still smoke.
"The damaging effects of smoking on women are extensive, well-documented, and can be observed from the cradle to the premature grave," Dr Sharon Phelan said from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). She helped develop ACOG's smoking cessation materials for health care providers.
"Smoking is a harmful habit that negatively affects nearly every organ in the body. There's just no good reason not to quit," she said.
Here's a list of the dangers:
- Smoking is the main cause of lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer death in women. Since 1950, lung cancer deaths among women have increased more than 600%, according to ACOG.
- Smoking also significantly increases the risk of many other cancers in women, including breast, oral, pharynx, larynx, oesophageal, pancreatic, kidney, bladder, uterine, and cervical cancers.
- Women who smoke are twice as likely to develop coronary heart disease and 10 times more likely to die from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) than non-smokers.
- Smoking increases the risk of emphysema, bronchitis, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, cataracts, lower bone density after menopause, and hip fracture. It can also contribute to early menopause, gum disease, tooth loss, and premature skin ageing.
- Reproductive-age women who smoke may have trouble conceiving, and pregnant women who smoke are at high risk of delivering preterm or low birth weight infants or having babies with poor lung function, bronchitis or asthma.
- >Women over age 35 who smoke and take birth control pills are at risk for developing deadly blood clots.
"Pregnant women should absolutely not smoke, and smoking should not be allowed in the home after a baby is born," Phelan said. "Unfortunately, we know that infants and young children are more heavily exposed to second-hand smoke than adults, and parents, guardians, or other members of the household often smoke around them."
Almost 60% of children ages 3 to 11 are exposed to second-hand smoke, which puts them at increased risk for a wide range of health problems. - (HealthDay News)
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