Women and Smoking: Bad News, Good News

You’ve come a long way, baby. But really, now, who wants this kind of progress….? Women who smoke are at much greater risk of death from lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) than they were 20 years ago. In fact, deaths from smoking are at an all-time high among women in the U.S. Why? Probably because women have started smoking earlier, are smoking longer, and smoke more each day than women did in the past.1

A large American Cancer Society research study also links smoking to breast cancer. During about a year of follow-up, the rate of new cases of invasive breast cancer was 24 percent higher in smokers than in nonsmokers.2

These are just a couple of new findings. You probably already know that smoking increases the risk for lung and other cancers, as well as the risk for infertility and low birth weight in babies.3

Against this troubling backdrop, however, there is something positive to report. People who quit smoking between ages 25 and 34 can gain back a decade they otherwise would have lost as lifetime smokers. Even quitting later in life can buy back some time.1

There’s other encouraging news: Your chances of a heart attack or stroke go down if you quit. The benefits of being smokefree can add so much life back into your day to day activities.

That’s all fine and well, you might say, but quitting is easier said than done. Of course, that’s true. But you’ve got more help at your disposal than ever before. Aside from counseling, quit-smoking support groups, and smokefree smartphone apps, you can also take advantage of quit-smoking products we carry in our store. Let me know if want to discuss our available products.

If you’ve tried to quit more than once, you might want to try a prescription medication such as varenicline (Chantix) and the antidepressant bupropion (Zyban). Some people also combine one of these medications with a nicotine patch such as Nicoderm.5 I can walk you through options like these. Or, if your doctor has written a prescription, I can answer any questions you may have.

Here are some other tips that may make it easier for you to quit smoking:

  • Get rid of all tobacco products and ashtrays ahead of time.

  • Ask others not to smoke around you or to leave evidence of cigarettes where you can see them. Also tell them not to buy you smokes after you quit, even if you ask them to.

  • Change your routines for a while so you’re less likely to trigger the desire to smoke.

  • Find relaxation techniques that work well for you. But minimize drinking alcohol. It may actually derail your efforts.6

  • When you feel an urge coming on, find a way to distract yourself—make a phone call, go for a walk, or come talk to me. I’ll cheer you on! 3

Sources

  1. HealthDay: “Women’s Smoking Deaths at All-Time High in U.S.” Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_133362.html Accessed March 20, 2013.

  2. American Cancer Society: “Study Links Smoking to Breast Cancer Risk.” Available at: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/news/news/study-links-smoking-to-breast-cancer-risk Accessed March 20, 2013.

  3. CDC: “Commit to Quit Smoking in 2013.” Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/Features/smokingcessation/ Accessed March 20, 2013.

  4. Reuters: “Quitting smoking helps hearts, even with weight gain.” Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_134864.html Accessed March 20, 2013.

  5. HealthDay: “Drug May Help Women Who Quit Smoking Avoid Weight Gain.” Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_132595.html Accessed March 20, 2013.

  6. HealthDay: “Drinking Can Derail Women’s Efforts to Quit Smoking.” Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_134073.html Accessed March 20, 2013.

Article from Health Mart Wellness Column