Smoking poses serious and unique risks to women, including increased risk of certain cancers, decreased bone density, infertility and a higher rate of dying from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Women and tobacco use
Women who smoke may develop more severe COPD earlier in life. They also have an increased risk of developing cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, pancreas, kidney, bladder and uterus, as well as the lung.
Smoking and pregnancy
Women who smoke are at greater risk for infertility, stillbirth, miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy. Babies of smokers are at a 30 percent greater risk of being born prematurely and with a higher likelihood for lung and congenital malformations.
Preparing to quit
Smoking cessation programs at Northwell Health offer high success rates for those who want to quit. With a comprehensive approach that includes behavior modification, medication and group support, smokers can successfully become nonsmokers in a matter of weeks.
The five-week program starts with learning about the behavioral aspects of smoking and addressing specific triggers. During this preparation stage, you’ll begin to change the way you smoke to set the foundation for quitting and will gain deeper insights into addiction and why it’s so complex. To increase your comfort during the quitting process, you may also be prescribed one of seven FDA-approved smoking cessation medications, two of which need to be taken several days before quitting to be effective.
During the third week of the program, participants quit on a collectively-set date. The fourth and fifth week are focused on relapse prevention. Nicotine replacement products are available in a variety of forms to help ease cravings and increase the chances of success.
Following the five-week program, you’ll be encouraged to attend regular group support sessions. Additional encouragement is offered in the way of motivational and inspirational text messages and regular follow-ups for at least one year.
“The support group following the program is very much peer-to-peer,” said Pat Folan, director of the Center for Tobacco Control. “In this setting, patients can talk about their experiences and provide encouragement to others in the group.”
The Great American Smokeout, an annual event sponsored by the American Cancer Society, occurs on Nov. 15. Let this be your day to start your journey toward a smoke-free life.
To register or learn more about the Center for Tobacco Control’s program, call 516-466-1980 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Call the Katz Institute for Women’s Health Resource Center at 855-850-5494 to speak to a women’s health specialist.
—Submitted by Katz Institute for
Women’s Health at Northwell