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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Study Tells Women: Quit Smoking, Live Longer

For as many times as we have written about smoking cigarettes usually these posts have been about the inherent dangers of smoking and the fact that cigarette smoking is like any other addiction. The bottom line is this: cigarette smoking is a health hazard for the smoker and for those impacted by second hand smoke and once addicted quitting is very difficult. Though quitting is not impossible, sometimes we need a reason to quit. If someone told you quitting could add ten years to your life, would you try to quit?

Do smoking regulations or warning labels make you want to quit smoking?

It might surprise you to know that in 1965 42% of Americans smoked cigarettes. By 2006 that number dropped to 20.8%. Most of this decrease has resulted from studies that show the negative health effects of smoking. People watched their loved ones die as a result of smoking. Regulations and laws were passed to lessen the places where people could smoke. No longer are we allowed to smoke while working; no longer can we smoke on planes, trains or buses; many communities have outlawed smoking in public parks and beaches; and, we can no longer smoke in restaurants and theaters. Adding to these health regulations we also have warning labels on cigarette packaging. These warning labels were first introduced in 1966 with the CAUTION: Cigarette Smoking May be Hazardous to Your Health.

This caution evolved into WARNINGS and in 2009 the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act was passed which required color graphics with supplemental text depicting the negative consequences of smoking to cover 50 percent of the front and rear of each pack. While these graphic labels were to be in place by September 2012, the courts are still trying to sort out whether or not this act is a violation of the First Amendment.

So have you quit yet?

Women and smoking...

The American Lung Association offers some interesting statistics regarding women and smoking. Here are just a few eye-opening stats:
  • Annually cigarette smoking kills an estimated 173,940 women in the US
  • As of 2008, 21.1 million women smoked cigarettes
  • Female smokers are nearly 13 times more likely to die from emphysema and chronic bronchitis, compared to women who never smoked
  • Women who smoke also have an increased risk for developing cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, pancreas, kidney, bladder, and uterine cervix.
  • Women who smoke also double their risk for developing coronary heart disease

New study highlights the benefits to women who quit smoking

This past week the results of a new study were released on-line in the journal Lancet,  The 21st Century Hazards of Smoking and Benefits of Stopping: A Prospective Study of One Million Women in the UK. Here are some of the studies methods and findings:
  • 1.3 million UK women were recruited in 1996-2001
  • These women were resurveyed about three and eight years later.
  • All were followed until January 1, 2011
  • Among UK women, two-thirds of all deaths of smokers in their 50s, 60s, and 70s are caused by smoking; smokers lose at least 10 years of lifespan. 
  • Although the hazards of smoking until age 40 years and then stopping are substantial, the hazards of continuing are ten times greater.  
  • Stopping before age 40 years (and preferably well before age 40 years) avoids more than 90% of the excess mortality caused by continuing smoking; stopping before age 30 years avoids more than 97% of it. 

NBC Today Show's Robert Bazell features study results


If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

In closing...

If you are a woman and you smoke, we hope that you will take the time to at least think about what this study is saying. You can quit smoking, if you need help then visit the American Lung Association's site to learn more about getting help to quit smoking. Also, remember that quitting smoking is like quitting any other addictive substance...you can do it one day at a time.


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