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Fact Sheet: Women and Tobacco

  • Since 1980, about three million women have died prematurely from smoking related diseases.

  • One in four women who die from cancer die from lung cancer. This is equal to about 68,000 women in the United States.

  • About 30% of high school senior girls currently smoke.

  • Approximately 18.5% of women in the United States smoked in 2004.

  • Smoking is a major cause of coronary heart disease among women.

  • Environmental tobacco smoke can lead to lung cancer and coronary heart disease in women who have never smoked in their lives.

  • Each year about 3,000 nonsmoking adults die of lung cancer and about 35,000 to 40,000 nonsmoking adults die of heart disease as a result of environmental tobacco smoke.

  • Infants born to women who smoke during pregnancy have a lower average birth weight and are more likely to be small for gestational age than are infants born to women who do not smoke.

  • According to survey data, about 22% of women continue smoking during pregnancy despite the high risk of low birth weight and infant mortality.

  • Approximately half of all women who continue to smoke will die from diseases caused by smoking.

  • Women who stop smoking greatly reduce their risk of dying prematurely. Former smokers have a lower risk for lung cancer and other smoke-related diseases than current smokers.

Quitting is Hard!

The evidence is overwhelming that smoking causes lung cancer, emphysema, throat cancer and many other diseases. So, don't smoke. If you haven't started, DON'T.

Women who stop smoking greatly reduce their risk of dying prematurely.

There are over the counter aids and prescription medication that will help you quit.

Please call the American Cancer Society for more information on smoking cessation.

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Women and Smoking: A Report of the Surgeon General-2001; "Cancer Facts and Figures 2002," American Cancer Society; "Surgeon General's Report: Women and Smoking Fact Sheet—Tobacco Use and Reproductive Outcomes," Office of the Surgeon General; CDC Fact Sheet: Smoking Among Women: Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke

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