The Women's Health Resource Center
Smoking is the nation's number one preventable cause of death today. Cigarettes kill more people each year than AIDS, heroin, cocaine, alcohol, fires, automobile accidents, homicide and suicide combined. One in four women who smokes tobacco will die prematurely.
Smoking, even passively through second-hand smoke, increases your risk for lung cancer. Direct smoking increases the chances of heart attack, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and emphysema and is associated with many other cancers. It will worsen symptoms from asthma, chronic bronchitis and allergies. It increases risk for peptic ulcer disease and it causes premature wrinkling of the skin and periodontal disease.
For women, tobacco has additional risks. Exposure to tobacco increases risk of infertility and results in health risks to the fetus and infant, through spontaneous abortion, pre-term birth, low birth weight and fetal or sudden infant death. It increases a woman's risk of menstrual irregularities, early menopause and accelerated osteoporosis. Children of smokers are also at a higher risk of developing respiratory disorders, as are other family members, as a result of inhaling the 4,000 different chemicals contained in cigarette smoke.
For more information on smoking-related illnesses or for classes and support groups on smoking cessation contact the Women's Health Resource Center at 415-600-0500, the Community Health Resource Center at 415-923-3155 or the Institute for Health and Healing at 415-600-3660.
What you can do…
- Quit smoking. Successful approaches include: Nicotine patches or gum, individual or group smoking cessation counseling, hypnosis, acupuncture, or just quit, "cold turkey."
- Don't allow smoking in your home or place of business.
- Reduce your exposure to second-hand smoke by avoiding establishments where smoking is allowed.