Tobacco companies have been around for years, and have subtly advertised smoking to be ‘cool’. In the last few years that Indian women have been taking charge about their lives, and their bodies, it is not rare to see a woman smoking on the streets of metropolitan cities. In fact, India has the second highest number of women smokers in the world after the United States of America.

While some may think that smoking somehow makes them ‘cooler’ or elevates their social status, women smokers need to know the health risks involved with smoking.

Now, it is old news that smoking can cause different types of cancer because of the presence of tobacco, tar, smoke and many more harmful chemicals in a cigarette. However, smoking for women is especially bad because our bodies are much more sensitive to these chemicals. Smoking can affect women in many more ways than it can affect men. Dr. Neera, a general physician from Delhi told us that “it is a trend nowadays among women to smoke, but they don’t see how it affects them. Just because the dangers of smoking are invisible most of the time, but once it starts, it can literally wreck havoc in a woman’s body”

Heart Disease
Smoking regularly directly affects the heart. However, women are 25% more likely to develop heart disease from smoking than men. Women’s bodies react differently to the carcinogens in cigarettes, and absorb them faster and quicker. Smoking severely damages and blocks arteries that transport blood to and from the heart. These blockages lead to heart attacks. In addition, if a woman takes birth control pills and smokes, she has a higher chance of blood clots and heart attacks

Breast and Cervical Cancer 
While it is true that smoking can increase risk of all cancers; in women the risk is much higher for breast cancer and cervical cancer. Premenopausal women are at a higher risk of developing these as a result of smoking regularly.

Hormones and Pregnancy
Women smokers are more likely to experience difficult pregnancies. There are a lot of complications that can happen during pregnancy and birth. Miscarriages, stillbirth and premature deliveries are some of the unfortunate results of smoking in women. If a woman smokes while she is pregnant, this can pose as a huge health risk for the baby. Smoking also affects women by messing with their mood, hunger, period frequency and more.

While some may think that smoking somehow makes them ‘cooler’ or elevates their social status, women smokers need to know the health risks involved with smoking. It is a disaster causing habit that can easily be kicked if you have the right tools in place. Women need to be aware about their health and take care of their mental health as well as their bodies. Quitting smoking, a good diet, and regular exercise can help you on a long term basis to lead a healthy lifestyle.