Many women smoke these days and their numbers are increasing. Women have been smoking as early as the 1920s. In 2010, the government of Gaza banned women from smoking nargilas (also known as Hookah) in public.
There are several reasons why women smoke. Surprisingly, one of the reasons is rebellion against social pressures to be feminine, perfect and nice. Another reason is to gain independence from their parents. Women feel that they obtain freedom by doing wild things such as smoking. The most common of all is peer pressure. Smoking is seen to help one fit in and make new friends amongst people who are smokers themselves. There is also a reason related to body weight. Women smoke to stay slim without being aware of the fact that they are killing themselves from the inside.
So is there a difference when it comes to the side effects of smoking for men and women? The effects of smoking are worse for women than for men because an adult man loses 13.2 years of his life due to smoking, whereas an adult woman smoker loses 14.5 years of her life. As you know, smoking causes lung cancer, which can also lead to breast cancer. Smoking also increases the risk of early birth or stillborn babies in pregnant women. Babies born to smokers have a slightly higher risk of heart defects than those born to non-smokers.
I believe that not only women but men as well shouldn’t smoke because doing so kills you and your chances for living life to the fullest. It may seem cool to some people, but it’s not cool to die slowly and painfully. I also believe that everyone is on Earth for a purpose — to make at least one change in someone’s life. But what good is your existence if you die for no reason? Think about it.
By Bhavina Kaur
14, Kuala Lumpur