Effects on Women

The increase of tobacco among women leads to an increase of cancer pathologies of the lungs (an increase of +5.5% during the years 1975 – 1993).

Apparently smoking reduces fertility, an extensive study has shown that while only 5% of non-smoking women did not conceive in the 5 years following the interruption of contraception, the percentage rises to 11% in the case of women who smoke heavily. Women who smoke run twice the risk of extra-uterus pregnancies compared to non-smoking women. The former are also more prone to dysmenorrhea, uterus neck cancer, osteoporosis is more precocious and they enter menopause two years earlier. The fetus is also exposed to several important risks and spontaneous abortion is more frequent. Carbon monoxide and nicotine cause an increase in heart beat frequency and premature births. There is also an increase in prenatal deaths of babies who are hypotrophic at birth weighing less than 200 grams. Smoking women who breast-feed their babies transmit nicotine to their baby. Children of smoking parents run the risk, of catching bronchitis, bronco-pneumonia and otitis, through passive smoking. This risk is doubled during the first year of life. The same applies to the incidence of asthma attacks whose gravity is definitely higher. Women who smoke and take oral contraceptives have a higher risk of heart attacks, stroke, phlebo-thrombosis and embolisms, particularly if older than 40 years. As far as the skin is concerned, one may observe the signs of premature aging due to dystrophy, loss of elasticity and dyschromia. The action of nicotine is joined by that of oxidizing radicals inhaled among the more than 4,000 chemical substances produced by the combustion of the cigarette.

Stephen Hecht, a scholar of the University of Minnesota Cancer Center, has proved the presence of NNK (nitrosamine 4-(methylnitrosamine)-1-(3- pyridyl)-1-butanone) i.e. one of the most carcinogenic (cancer causing) agents contained in the smoke of a cigarette, is found in the first urine of newborn babies of mothers who kept smoking during pregnancy.