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While smoking being the most injurious habit one could get addicted to, it affects the health of a woman in a similar yet different way from that of a man.
The number of female smokers are increasing by the day and India is no exception. While the reasons for this rise are varied, the most obvious one is the increasing stress amongst women. This is most common with urban Indian women who have to shoulder the dual responsibilities of managing their household and their work life simultaneously. Women smokers are more vulnerable to increasing chances of having ulcers, decreased bone density, early menopause, gum diseases, early age depression and even breathing problems.
Moreover, teenage girls have also started smoking, thinking that it is a good way to control their weight. Low self-esteem is also a major reason as to why young girls take up the habit of smoking. One cannot ignore that peer pressure plays a huge role in influencing teenagers to indulge in unhealthy habits and inappropriate behaviour.While the possibility of lung cancer is one of the many detrimental after effects of smoking and is a possibility common with both men and women.
Also, according to various studies, the chances of a smoker woman dying because of lung cancer is higher than that of a smoker man. Also, the chances of breaking a hip due to decreased bone density are higher than those of a non smoker.
Smoking affects the health of women particularly vis-à-vis their reproductive health. Women who smoke may have a harder time getting pregnant. The chances of losing her baby before it is born are also higher. SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) is increasing in number. Videos and photos of children with various medical problems that are all around the social media proves the grave effects on a woman’s health who smokes during pregnancy. Also, female smokers are likely to face menopause much before the non-smokers.
Although this issue has been raised and debated several times, we cannot ignore the gravity of this issue. More so because the increasing number of infants are born with serious medical issues and their reasons are more often related to bad choice of habits in mothers which includes smoking. Passive smoking also affects women much more than men.
Women at work or even at their homes are not able to escape passive smoking. According to a study, 64% of the deaths as a result of passive smoking involves women.
Also, mothers who smoke are posing their children a much greater risk of developing disorders than mothers who do not smoke.
The tobacco industry has launched various campaigns to cater to women especially in the American and European markets. Gone are the days when only men were the targets of such advertisements. Their new target market is the female population in the urban area. The increasing number of advertisements portray smoking as a symbol of sensuality and even gives a sense of luxury, representing an open-minded, rebellious woman.
The Tobacco company controls the strategies needed to be developed which should be more coherent. They must take heed of the fact that the decisions to start smoking need to be addressed differently. Related to it are different cultural and socio-economic aspects.
Yes, you do need to think not just for yourself but for your loved ones as well when you pick a pack of Marlboro the next time!
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