Impact of Smoking on the Health of Women

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Smoking is injurious to health of both men as well as women. While men have smoked and got themselves killed by diseases related to tobacco-smoking for a long time, women have seen an almost 600 per cent jump since 1950s in mortality rates related to smoking. This is an alarming sign and needs to be controlled before it reaches unmanageable proportions.

Effects of Smoking for Women

Damage to Lungs:
Smoking indiscriminately results in a disease called Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). It is a combination of emphysema and chronic bronchitis and accounts for up to 75 per cent deaths. While young women smokers are at risk from this disease, women aged 35 years and older are at an increased risk from this disease. It is best that they give up all type of cigarettes (even the "low tar" or "light" ones).

Cancer:
Lung cancer is one major disease that results from smoking. However, the story does not stop at lung cancer. There are other types of cancers which are caused by smoking. Cancer affects the following body parts:

* Bladder cancer
* Cervix cancer
* Oesophagus cancer
* Kidney cancer
* Larynx (voice box) cancer
* Mouth cancer
* Pancreas cancer
* Pharynx (throat) cancer
* Stomach cancer

Coronary Diseases:
Cigarette smoking amongst women increases the risk of development of coronary heart diseases. As a matter of fact, death from heart diseases outnumbers deaths caused by lung cancer. The risk increases with an increase in number of cigarettes smoked. Further, while it was thought to be otherwise, young women are more prone to contracting heart diseases than older women. Another thing which has been noted is that if a woman is taking birth control pills, her chances of contracting coronary heart disease increase.

Impact of Smoking on Reproductive Capabilities:
Studies have indicated that smoking has negative impact upon a woman's ability to conceive. Women who have conceived and are still smoking can face the possibility of the placenta growing too close to the opening of the uterus. This can adversely affect the health of both the mother as well as the baby. This can lead to premature birth, bleeding, and emergency Caesarean section (C-section). Miscarriage and stillbirth can not be ruled out as well.

Other Health Risks:
Apart from cancer and heart disease, there are other health risks posed by smoking. This includes the onset of Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) in which the arms and legs do not get enough blood supply. While physically it might not be discomforting, it can severely limit mobility.

Bone density amongst women who have gone through (or are undergoing) menopause gets reduced if they smoke. The result is that they are more prone to damage and wear and tear of bones. Further, chances of contracting cataract (clouding of the lenses of the eyes) and rheumatoid arthritis increase with age.