Tag Archives: women who smoke

Is Fear of Gaining Weight Keeping Many Women from Trying to Quit Smoking?

[UMHS-Press Release]

Women and Smoking

Smokers are more likely to have unrealistic body image & eating problems, and women who had weight problems as girls are more likely to start smoking early.

Is a fear of getting fatter partly to blame for the fact that nearly one in five American women still smokes, and many don’t try to quit?

Although there are many possible reasons for the stubborn persistence of smoking, fear of weight gain is high on the list for many women, says a University of Michigan Health System researcher who has devoted much of her career to studying this issue.

Although there are many possible reasons for the stubborn persistence of smoking, fear of weight gain is high on the list for many women, says a University of Michigan Health System researcher who has devoted much of her career to studying this issue.

weight.jpgSeveral years ago, she and her team reported that 75 percent of all women smokers say they would be unwilling to gain more than five pounds if they were to quit smoking, and nearly half said they would not tolerate any weight gain. In fact, many women started smoking in the first place because they thought it might help them stay slim.

Now, new U-M research findings published in the October issue of Addictive Behaviors show that women who smoke tend to be further from their ideal body image, and more prone to dieting and binging, than those who don’t smoke.

Cigarettes are well known to suppress appetite and weight, says Cindy Pomerleau, Ph.D., director of the U-M Nicotine Research Laboratory. “So it’s hardly surprising that women who have trouble managing their weight or are dissatisfied with their bodies are drawn to smoking,” she says.

In another recent study, published in August, the U-M team found that overweight women smokers who were overweight as children were far more likely to have started smoking in their early teens than women whose weight problems started later in life. They also had worse withdrawal symptoms when they tried to quit.

Once they make a serious attempt to quit, evidence suggests that most weight-concerned smokers can be just as successful in kicking the habit as others.

“The problem here is getting women who are concerned about their weight to be willing to try to make a quit attempt,” says Pomerleau, “and then helping them gain a sense of control over their weight.”

Women who are highly concerned about weight tend to be concerned about other aspects of their appearance as well, she notes. What they need to understand, she says, is that smoking has an impact on many aspects of appearance and attractiveness. Among other things, it causes wrinkled skin, thinning hair, cracked fingernails, yellowed teeth and terrible breath.

Pomerleau, a research professor of psychiatry, is working on a book about women, smoking and weight loss that will draw together research findings, helpful tips and real-life examples of women who quit tobacco while also containing their weight.

Some beliefs about smoking and weight are true, she says. For instance, nicotine suppresses the appetite and increases resting metabolic rate. Smokers on average weigh less than people who have never smoked, and that smokers who quit tend to gain weight. Adding to these perceptions are tobacco advertisements that portray female smokers as slim and successful.

Even so, the effect of quitting on weight is often less dramatic than many women fear, Pomerleau says. A rough rule of thumb is that one in four women who quit smoking will gain less than five pounds, and another two out of four will gain five to 15 pounds. Only one in four women who quit will gain 15 pounds or more.

But Pomerleau’s own research suggests that many women smokers start out with an unrealistic image of how they would like their bodies to look. This may make their dread of gaining weight even worse.

In her paper in Addictive Behaviors, she reports the results of a study of 587 women between the ages of 18 and 55, including 420 smokers and 167 women who had never smoked. An equal proportion of both groups was overweight or obese, with a body mass index of 25 or more.

In the study, the smokers and non-smokers were asked to look at silhouette pictures of 10 different body types, ranging from thinnest to fattest, and to choose which one their current body type was closest to, and which one they wanted to look most like. They were also asked questions about their self-image and their eating habits, about how concerned they were about gaining weight if they quit smoking, and about how sure they were that they could stay off cigarettes even if they gained weight.

The smokers chose an ideal body shape that was slimmer than the non-smokers chose, and further from how they perceived themselves as looking. They also had more problems with limiting their eating. Smokers who were overweight were especially doubtful about their ability to stay off tobacco if they started to gain weight.

This study, Pomerleau says, suggests that if women smokers are to succeed in quitting, they may need extra help in achieving a more realistic body image and paying attention to unhealthful eating patterns, particularly if they are already overweight.

At the same time, Pomerleau and her team have found that the earlier in life a weight problem starts, the more likely a woman is to start smoking.

In a study of 89 overweight women smokers, those who remembered being overweight before they reached junior high school reported that they had started experimenting with smoking at around age 13 – compared with women whose weight problems didn’t start until junior high or after, who hadn’t tried smoking till they reached age 15.

The women who were overweight as children also reported more nicotine-withdrawal symptoms when they tried to quit smoking, especially symptoms like anger, irritability and trouble concentrating. The study was published in the August issue of Eating Behaviors.

These studies, and others that the U-M team have done, all point to the importance of finding new strategies to help women quit smoking without losing control of their weight. Although severe dieting during a smoking cessation attempt has not been shown to be helpful in either quitting smoking or controlling weight, it may be unrealistic to expect women with strong weight concerns to put these concerns on hold for several weeks or months while they try to quit tobacco.

“What we would like to work for is a kind of compromise strategy, where the focus is on the smoking cessation, but women can also take some passive and active measures to control their weight,” Pomerleau says.

Passive measures include things like nicotine patches and gum, and medicines like bupropion, which can help in controlling weight gain while keeping nicotine withdrawal symptoms at bay.

Another option for women is to launch their stop-smoking effort early in their menstrual cycle, so that the bloating that can happen soon after they snuff out their last cigarette won’t be compounded by the bloating that comes along right before their period begins.

Finally, although strenuous dieting is not recommended, Pomerleau says, women can start immediately to rebalance the energy-in/energy-out equation by not substituting eating for smoking, and by increasing their physical activity. Even brief bouts of exercise, such as stretching or walking, can be effective in distracting a woman when the urge to smoke strikes, she says, and they burn a few calories too.

Facts About Smoking and Health

  • Smoking damages a woman’s hair, skin, nails, teeth, voice and more.
  • Smoking causes lung problems, including lung cancer, which kills far more women than any other form of cancer including breast cancer.
  • Smoking increases the chance of heart disease and stroke, the number one and number three killers of women.
  • Smoking can reduce a woman’s fertility, making it harder to get pregnant.
  • Smoking can cause abnormal growth of cells in the cervix, a condition known as cervical dysplasia that can lead to cervical cancer.
  • Smoking during pregnancy increases the chance that a woman will miscarry or experience pregnancy problems, and increases the chance that her baby will suffer problems.
  • Quitting smoking often leads to weight gain, but three-quarters of women who quit will gain 15 pounds or less.
  • Quitting smoking is one of the most important things a person can do to improve their health now and in the future. Once a smoker has quit, the harm that smoking has done to their body will stop and even start to reverse. In fact, within 15 years of quitting smoking, death rates for ex-smokers are the same as for people of the same age who have never smoked.

U-M Health Minute: Today’s top health issues and medical research
Written by Kara Gavin

Learn more on the web or by phone at:
The American Lung Association: Freedom from SmokingAmerican Cancer Society Stop-smoking help, and information on the Nov. 15 Great American Smokeout, or call 1-800-ACS-2345

Smokefree.gov:
A web site for Americans who want to quit smoking, from the National Cancer Institute or call 800-QUITNOW   Hearing impaired: TTY 1-800-332-8615

U-M Nicotine Research Laboratory

Study references:
Addictive Behaviors, Volume 32, Issue 10, October 2007, pp. 2329-2334
Eating Behaviors, Volume 8, Issue 3, August 2007, pp. 418-422

Women Smokers Grow More Facial Hair

The effects of smoking can show up in ways you may not expect.

Although the mustache on the women in this picture is obviously fake, what we are about to tell you isn’t.

The Medical College of Wisconsin has reported a link between smoking and increased facial hair in some women.

Girl with Fake Moustache Women who smoke at least one pack of cigarettes a day have a fifty percent greater chance of growing more facial hair.

This study at the Medical College of Wisconsin has found increased facial hair in women apparently has something to do with the effects of smoking on the ovaries and the production of hormones.

So if you are a women smoker and find you are growing more facial hair as you age you could be adversely effecting your hormonal balance due to the risks of ingesting the chemicals in cigarettes.

Mother’s Who Smoke Subject Babies to Higher Systolic Blood Pressure

There was a study that took place in the Netherlands.

This study was of 456 infants.

It showed that, by age 2 months, babies born to mothers who smoked had higher systolic blood pressures as compared to those whose mothers didn’t smoke.

Those babies of non-smokers weren’t exposed to smoke during pregnancy.

Picture of Baby Our findings indicate maternal smoking during pregnancy has a direct substantial impact on systolic blood pressure in early infancy.

This is yet another reason for women not to smoke during pregnancy, said Caroline C. Geerts, lead author of the study and a doctoral student at Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care at the University Medical Center Utrecht in The Netherlands.

“This association appears to occur in utero and doesn’t appear to be due to the postnatal environment of the infant.”

Learn more about > Maternal Smoking

~American Heart Assoc. Journal Report 7/30/2007

Camel Banks on Allure of No. 9

Curious smokers of both genders have been buying new cigarettes allegedly marketed toward women, while health advocates continue to bristle at the advertising campaign accompanying the new product.

The name of the cigarette, No. 9, calls to mind the name of famous perfumes No. 5 and No. 19 by the legendary design house Chanel. The smokes come in a black box, said to be “dressed to the nines,” trimmed with fuchsia accents. Then there’s the song “Love Potion No. 9” and the movie by the same name that gave Sandra Bullock her big break.

When Janine Paczelt, a manager at The Cigarette Outlet in West Bend was asked about a new cigarette brand, she knew immediately it would be the new Camel.

“Because it’s been on the news, and because it’s the new cigarette – and the new cigarette always causes controversy,” Paczelt said. “Yes, I carry them and, yes, people have asked for them.”

Picture of SmokerMost of Paczelt’s customers seem to buy cigarettes based on price first, then taste. She wasn’t sure how they responded to marketing strategies. She said she had only tried one “No. 9” and described the heaviness of the smoke as between a regular Camel and a Camel Light.

Paczelt said she had a mix of grown men and women asking for the cigarette – no teenagers – more than once a week in the three weeks the outlet has carried it.

“I don’t know the whole women versus men,” said Mary Simon, director of the Council on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse of Washington County. “I know with the marketing to young people some of the tobacco advocates talk about is that it’s more brand recognition – to get kids familiar with their brand so when they are able to legally make that choice they know they’ve heard about a brand.”

Simon said a lot of women continue to smoke because when they stop they gain weight, which makes the No. 9 tagline, “light and luscious” particularly poignant given research has proven an undeniable link between smoking and heart disease and cancer – the top two causes of death among women.

Maggie Seideman is in charge of programming for cardiopulmonary rehabilitation and wellness for SynergyHealth St. Joseph’s Hospital in West Bend, which helps people re-build body strength and make healthy choices following a cardiopulmonary health event.

“We’re seeing them when they need something more than changing brands,” Seideman said. “What brings people to the realization that they need to quit the use of tobacco – even though they’ve smoked for years and feel nothing will ever happen to me, or they’re addicted – is once they develop an issue with their breathing and their heart not working, the pain is greater than the pleasure.”

Seideman also leads a smoking cessation discussion group for people who haven’t had a major health event but want to quit smoking. She said she wasn’t sure how much brand marketing influenced smokers who were trying to quit.

She said no one on her staff had heard of the new cigarette until contacted by the Daily News, but soon after Jessica Podolski, a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee nursing student shadowing the cardiopulmonary staff, received some promotional material in the mail.

“It’s actually kind of elaborate,” Podolski said. “It’s a big box with flowers on it and it says ‘Camel,’ and when you open it up there’s an offer for a free cigarette case.”

Podolski is not a smoker, but signed up with a Camel promotions worker when she was out one night with a smoker friend in order to get more promotional gifts for her friend.

“Now I’m on their list,” said Podolski about the package. “It says ‘show off smoking style’ or something ridiculous. It’s overly apparent that they’re targeting women. It aggravates me that they’re targeting young teenage girls.”

Podolski said she believes the advertising for No. 9’s in magazines targets underage girls because she couldn’t imagine an adult smoker switching brands because of pink accents on the package.

But Jess Paczelt, an employee at Smokes Cigarette Outlet in West Bend – and Janine’s daughter – said a lot of smokers were asking about the cigarette before it even came out, and not just women.

“It’s more a mix,” Jess Paczelt said. “There’s actually a lot of younger men who are buying them.”

The younger Paczelt said about five customers per day buy No. 9s, and the store always orders more for its biweekly delivery.

This story appeared in the West Bend Daily News on March 27, 2007.

Dangers of 69 Cancer Causing Chemicals in Cigarettes to Men, Women and Unborn Babies

There are 69 known cancer-causing chemicals in tobacco smoke.

While nicotine itself isn’t thought to be carcinogenic, it’s the reason why smokers continue the habit.

This highly addictive drug is toxic and potentially lethal in large doses.

Apart from its use in tobacco products, nicotine is a scheduled poison under the State Poisons Act. When they get their dose of nicotine, smokers also inhale about 4,000 other chemicals.

Most of these compounds are chemically active, and trigger profound and damaging changes in the body.

Tobacco smoke contains dangerous chemicals. The most damaging compounds in tobacco smoke include:

Picture of a smoker1,3-butadiene – or BDE is an industrial chemical used in rubber manufacture. Some scientists believe that of all the chemicals in tobacco smoke, BDE may present the greatest overall cancer risk. It may not be as good at causing cancer as some of the other chemicals listed here, but it is found in large amounts in tobacco smoke.

Ammonia – ammonia is a strong chemical, found in household cleaners and formaldehyde (used for preserving organs of dead people in morgues), which also damages the lungs.

Arsenic – is one of the most dangerous chemicals in cigarettes. It can cause cancer as well as damaging the heart and its blood vessels. Small amounts of arsenic can accumulate in smokers’ bodies and build up to higher concentrations over months and years. As well as any direct effects, it can worsen the effect of other chemicals by interfering with our ability to repair our DNA.

Acrolein – is a gas with an intensely irritating smell and is one of the most abundant chemicals in cigarette smoke. It belongs to the same group of chemicals as formaldehyde and acetaldehyde, both of which can cause cancer.

Benzene – is a solvent used to manufacture other chemicals, including petrol. It is well-established that benzene can cause cancer, particularly leukemia. It could account for between a tenth and a half of the deaths from leukemia caused by smoking.

Cadmium – is a metal used mostly to make batteries. The majority of cadmium in our bodies comes from exposure to tobacco smoke. Smokers can have twice as much cadmium in their blood as non-smokers.

Carbon monoxide – this odor less gas is fatal in large doses because it takes the place of oxygen in the blood. Each red blood cell contains a complicated protein called hemoglobin; oxygen molecules are transported around the body by binding to, or hanging onto, this protein. However, carbon monoxide has an even greater affinity for binding to hemoglobin than does oxygen. This means that the heart of a smoker has to work much harder to get enough oxygen to the brain, heart, muscles and other organs.

Formaldehyde – is a smelly chemical used to kill bacteria, preserve dead bodies and manufacture other chemicals. It is one of the substances in tobacco smoke most likely to cause diseases in our lungs and airways.

Hydrogen cyanide – the lungs contain tiny hairs (cilia) that help to ‘clean’ the lungs by moving foreign substances out. Hydrogen cyanide stops this lung clearance system from working properly, which means the poisonous ingredients of tobacco smoke are allowed to remain inside the lungs.

Metals – tobacco smoke contains dangerous metals including arsenic, cadmium and lead. Many of these metals are carcinogenic.

Nitrogen oxides – animal experiments have shown that nitrogen oxides damage the lungs. It is thought that nitrogen oxides are some of the particular chemicals in tobacco smoke that cause the lung disease emphysema.

Polonium-210 – is a rare, radioactive element and polonium-210 is its most common form. Polonium strongly emits a very damaging type of radiation called alpha-radiation that can usually be blocked by thin layers of skin. But tobacco smoke contains traces of polonium, which become deposited inside their airways and deliver radiation directly to surrounding cells.

Chemical properties of polonium-210

Radioactive compounds – tobacco smoke contains radioactive compounds, which are known to be carcinogenic.

Tar – this is the collective term for all the various particles suspended in tobacco smoke. The particles contain chemicals including nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. Tar is sticky and brown, and stains teeth, fingernails and lung tissue. Tar contains the carcinogen benzo(a)pyrene that is known to trigger tumour development (cancer).

Smoking Effects on the Respiratory system

The effects of tobacco smoke on the respiratory system include:
–Irritation of the trachea (windpipe) and larynx (voice box).
–Reduced lung function and breathlessness due to swelling and narrowing of the lung airways and excess mucus in the lung passages.
–Inability of the lungs to cough out and clear poisonous substances, which results in lung irritation and damage.

Smoking and the Circulatory system

The effects of tobacco smoke on the circulatory system include:
–Raised blood pressure and heart rate.
–Constriction (tightening) of blood vessels in the skin, resulting in a drop in skin temperature.
–Less blood, which carries oxygen, available to the body.
–Stickier blood, which is more prone to clotting.
–Damage to the lining of the arteries, which is thought to be a
contributing factor to atherosclerosis (the build-up of fatty deposits on the artery walls).
–Increased risk of stroke and heart attack due to blockages of the blood supply.

Cigarettes Effects on the Immune system

The effects of tobacco smoke on the immune system include:
–The immune system doesn’t work as well.
–The person is more prone to infections.
–It takes longer to get over an illness.

Smoking Addiction Dangers to Musculoskeletal System

The effects of tobacco smoke on the musculoskeletal system include:
–Reduced blood flow to extremities like fingers and toes
–Tightening of the muscles
–Reduced bone density.

Other Effects Of Smoking On the Body

Other effects of tobacco smoke on the body include:
–Irritation and inflammation of the stomach and intestines
–Increased risk of bleeding ulcers along the digestive tract
–Reduced ability to smell and taste
–Premature wrinkling of the skin
–Higher risk of blindness and hearing loss
–Gum disease.

Smoking and The Male Body

The specific effects of tobacco smoke on the male body include:
–Lower sperm count
–Higher percentage of deformed sperm
–Reduced sperm mobility
–Lower sex drive
–Reduced levels of male sex hormones
–Impotence, caused by reduced blood flow to the penis
–Increased risk of reproductive system cancers, including penile cancer.

Smoking Effects on the Female Body

The specific effects of tobacco smoke on the female body include:
–Reduced fertility.
–Lower sex drive.
–Reduced levels of female sex hormones.
–Menstrual cycle irregularities or absence of menstruation.
–Menopause reached one or two years earlier.
–Increased risk of reproductive system cancers, including cancers of the cervix, vulva and breast.
–Greatly increased risk of stroke and heart attack if the smoker is aged over 35 years and taking the oral contraceptive pill.
–Can increase facial hair.
–Can lead to depression.

Smoking Dangers to the Unborn Baby

The effects of maternal smoking on the unborn baby include:
–Increased risk of miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth.
–Low birth weight.
–Increased risk of cleft palate and cleft lip.
–Greater risk of developmental problems, such as attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
–Paternal smoking can also harm the fetus if the non-smoking mother is exposed to passive smoking.

If the mother continues to smoke during her baby’s first year of life, the child has an increased risk of ear infections, respiratory illnesses such as asthma, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and childhood cancers such as acute lymphocytic leukaemia.

Diseases Caused by Long Term Smoking

A lifetime smoker is at high risk of developing a range of potentially
lethal diseases, including:
All types of cancer, such as cancer of the lung, mouth, nose, throat,
pancreas, blood, kidney, penis, cervix, bladder and anus. Lung diseases such as chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and emphysema. Coronary artery disease, heart disease and heart attack. Ulcers of the digestive system. Osteoporosis. Poor blood circulation in extremities, which can lead to amputation.

Things to Remember

Most of the 4,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke are chemically active and
trigger profound and potentially fatal changes in the body.

The most damaging substances in tobacco smoke include tar, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrogen cyanide, metals, ammonia and radioactive compounds.

Sources: Surgeon General, U.S
National Center For Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
UK’s “Smoke is Poison” campaign, funded by the Department of Health.