More women are smoking now than ever before, according to a recent study. In a shocking trend, India has now more female smokers – over 12.1 million – than any country except the United States.
There seems to be a misconception that fewer women are smoking because they know it’s bad for their health. In reality, an increasing number of women smoke a pack a day.
Take the example of Chandni Mathur, a 31-year-old banker who has been smoking since she was 16. She recently met with an Apollo Hospitals De addiction specialist to discuss a plan to quit. Ms Mathur wants to quit for health reasons, but quitting does come with some consequences.
“I’m afraid that I’m going to gain weight,” she said.
Smoking increases metabolism, and on average, a smoker weighs four to 10 pounds less than a non-smoker.
Doctors say that smoking causes cardiac complications, lung diseases and skin wrinkles in women that are in their 30s and 40s. Years ago, these results were found in women that were in their 80s.
Body image experts maintain that women who smoke to lose weight are actually choosing what they think is a better quality of life.
Quality for them is defined by low weight instead of overall heath. To make it worse, society stresses that you are worth more when you weigh less. But real beauty is no longer about size. It’s about character.
Women also smoke as a way to deal with stress. Nicotine has been proven to calm users and for many becomes routine.
The good news: It’s never too early to quit smoking. Quitting at any age dramatically lowers mortality from all major smoking-related diseases.
Smokers should let their primary physician know when and why they started smoking. If they want to quit, the patients should set a quit date and ask their physician what resources are available to help them meet their goal. Patients need to be transparent with their doctors about past attempts at quitting and be aware of what didn’t work.