Female facts

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Not only do women suffer from most of the negative effects of smoking that men do (see Scary facts) but we are also prone to additional risks that should, arguably, give us even greater reasons to quit, now!


Certain toxins in cigarette smoke can alter levels of vital hormones such as testosterone and oestrogen which creates an imbalance which in some women can contribute to infertility.

Early Menopause

Women who start to smoke in their teens are three times more likely (than non-smoking women) to experience early menopause. There are two reasons put forward for this: the effects of the lower levels of oestrogen in the body (when compared with female non-smokers) and ovotoxins in cigarette smoke which have a toxic effect on ovaries.

Breast Cancer

A woman who smokes 20 cigarettes a day is four times more likely to develop breast cancer than a woman who does not smoke.

Other Cancers

Women who smoke are more likely to get cancers of the vulva and the cervix. This could be because smoking leaches the body’s supply of beta carotene, vitamins A and C – these are all antioxidants which have been found to help protect the body against cancer.

Heart Disease

Women who smoke are 50 % more likely to have a heart attack than male smokers and researchers think this may be because of the unique way that the oestrogen in our bodies react with the constituents of cigarette smoke.

The Pill

Women who smoke and also use the Pill (an oral contraceptive) increase their chances of developing blood clots, strokes, heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases. The situation becomes even more dangerous as women get older and so women over 30 who smoke and are on the Pill should be especially careful.

(See also Fertility facts and Pregnancy facts 




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Last modified: August 04, 2000