Having centuries of experience appealing to customers, tobacco companies know how to play the marketing game. They use beautiful people, social appeal, and celebrities to draw attention. Sadly, people are still caving into the allure, and women specifically are suffering the harmful consequences of smoking.
Worldwide, 1 out of every 10 people die because of habitual smoking, according to a new Global Burden of Diseases report. In 2015, about 1 billion people smoked on a daily basis, and over 6 million died from tobacco-related causes that year.
Although many smokers downplay tobacco’s harmful effects, the research shows otherwise. According to the report’s author, one of the biggest causes of early death and health complications is smoking, a preventable malady.
In this same report, researchers found that 1 in every 20 women smoke every day, despite warnings that it can severely affect their health. In the United States alone, over 20 million women smoke, and the majority of these female smokers are teens and young women.
Smoking Risks for Women
If you’re a woman who smokes, you cannot deny the science. Both men and women have increased risks for cancer, lung disease, and other breathing complications. In fact, smoking increases the risk for nearly all illnesses and causes more deaths than illegal drugs, guns, or traffic accidents.
In addition to these usual risks, women will also experience a variety of other health problems. No matter what people think, women do smoke habitually, and this habit does wreak havoc on their health.
One area of a woman’s life that smoking touches is pregnancy. Smoking is known to cause major pregnancy complications, including low birth weight, preterm delivery, miscarriage, stillbirth, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
If the woman smokes during pregnancy, the baby may have lung problems and go through withdrawal during the crucial first days of life.
At the same time, women who smoke have a harder time getting pregnant in general. Studies show that smokers have a 60 percent increased risk of infertility, and women smokers go through menopause several years earlier than non-smoking women.
Women also have a higher risk for developing heart disease than men, especially if they smoke. Smoking damages blood cells in the body and actually causes plaque buildup in the arteries.
Once the plaque builds up enough, it severely restricts blood flow and leads to heart attacks. In addition, women who smoke and use contraceptive pills raise their chances for heart disease even further.
Smoking is also linked to reducing bone density in women. This habit combined with their tendency to a poor diet, low physical activity, and alcohol consumption all increase the risk of thinning out the bone.
Breast and Cervical Cancer
While smoking raises the risk for all types of cancer, women especially run a higher risk for breast and cervical cancer. In the case of cervical cancer, smoking can damage cervical cells that women need to fight off infection. If they cannot fight the infection, they open up the possibility for a variety of problems, including cervical cancer.
For breast cancer patients, those who smoke risk dying from the cancer by as much as 75 percent. Their bodies simply cannot process the chemicals from cigarettes and fight off cancer effectively.
Female smokers need to understand the reality of this practice. Smoking will not give them a better social status, make them more beautiful, or improve their physical and emotional well-being. It will lead to health problems, more depression, and a nasty addiction that will cost them their lives. Instead, they should find a better way to vent emotions or improve social status and give up smoking for good.
This article first appeared on AskDrManny.com.
Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's senior managing health editor. He also serves as chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. For more information on Dr. Manny's work, visit AskDrManny.com.