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Women’s health has been a growing cause for concern, with our article “Women’s Health is at Risk” indicating that over 1.5 billion women are unable to access preventive care due to gender and societal norms. This has serious implications, as nearly two out of every three women are at risk of dying from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases.
In particular, smoking is heavily linked to NCDs and has proven to be detrimental, especially since it poses more risks for women than men.
Why smoking is riskier for women
Although smoking leads to adverse health concerns in both men and women, it is riskier for the latter. This is because it affects aspects of health unique to women, including pregnancy and fertility.
Pregnant smokers risk passing cigarette chemicals to their unborn children through the bloodstream. This can lead to harmful side effects on the child–including birth defects and recurring respiratory problems–and result in a premature birth or, worse, sudden infant death syndrome. On the flip side, smoking can also lead to difficulty conceiving, as certain chemicals like cyanide and carbon monoxide affect the cervical mucus and hasten the loss rate of eggs.
These are but the tip of the iceberg. After all, smoking is responsible for over 200,000 deaths among women yearly. The good news is, kicking the habit can not only improve your quality of life but extend it as well. To help you quit smoking, here are three effective tips.
Consider behavioral interventions
Nicotine dependence entails both physical and emotional attachment. Since surveys find that most women smoke to cope with internal problems like stress or image concerns, adopting behavioral interventions can be beneficial. Research reveals these non-coercive interventions to be more effective among women than men, with a recent JAMA study reporting a 2-3% increase in cessation among women when such methods are employed.
These methods work by identifying triggers that lead to smoking and substituting them with healthier alternatives. This includes simple distractions like chewing on healthy snacks and adopting a workout regimen, as well as cessation programs that combine counseling with the tools, resources, and behavioral change techniques applicable to your lifestyle. In this way, you can sustainably quit smoking and avoid relapses.
Try nicotine replacement therapy
As smokeless tobacco alternatives, nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products relieve cravings, help smokers wean off nicotine, and prevent withdrawal symptoms. Emerging NRT innovations include nicotine pouches, which are hailed for their convenience and variety. As seen in the range of pouches offered by Prilla.com, they are packaged in easy-to-transport tins and come in various strengths and flavors like mint, citrus, and coffee. This makes receiving a nicotine fix from a pouch more discreet, refreshing, and customizable compared to other NRTs.
Another popular option is nicotine patches. Convenient and long-lasting, patches like Habitrol are stuck on clean skin and can provide relief for up to 24 hours. They need not be reapplied, making dealing with withdrawals manageable The best thing about both these NRTs is unlike other cessation aids, you don’t need to suck on them. This not only makes them fuss-free but also ideal for women hoping to prevent fine lines around the mouth or discolored lips and teeth.
Explore holistic treatments
Because smoking typically inhibits estrogen production, this affects behavioral responses that make quitting doubly hard for women. Since holistic treatments like yoga and meditation focus on altering the mind and body’s inhibitory controls, they can help restore hormonal balance in women and increase cessation success.
For instance, yoga regulates your breathing and reduces activity in regions of the brain associated with emotions. This improves blood circulation and restricts the mood swings withdrawals can incite. Similarly, acupuncture works by stimulating pressure points and rechanneling your energy flow to suppress cravings. It also improves your quality of sleep, making you less fatigued and more focused on handling cessation-related symptoms instead.
Nipping smoking in the bud is not easy. Understanding the risks it poses to women’s health and the ways you can overcome the habit, however, are already steps in the right direction. To learn more about these topics, read our other articles here on USReporter.com.