I will admit sometimes I get the urge to have a cigarette. I’m not sure what it’s about, but when I’m standing around a group of people drinking and inhaling their secondhand smoke, it causes that urge. In college I discovered cloves and bidis, what I now refer to as hipster cigarettes. I even keep a stash of cloves somewhere in my house, just in case that urge hits, but it doesn’t happen often.
Don’t get me started on hookah. Pineapple mixed with watermelon at my favorite hookah lounge in DC along with a couple of tapas? It was one of my favorite social activities.
Although I wouldn’t refer to myself as a frequent ‘smoker.’ I’ve undoubtedly smoked.
Lady smokers of the world, it’s not a good look for us. Especially if you don’t want to die an early death.
In Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine, new research was published that shows U.S. women who smoke today have a much greater risk of dying from lung cancer than they did decades ago. Women are now puffing away, just like men. And we’re dying, right along with them. The risk of death from lung cancer has been rising steadily since the 1960s, when female smokers were 2.7 times more likely to die from the disease compared with women who didn’t smoke. By the 1980s, women who smoked were 12.6 times more likely to die from lung cancer, and in the 2000s, they were 25.7 times more likely to die, according to the study.
“Smoking is the No. 1 preventable cause of death in the U.S.,” says Tim McAfee, a co-author of the study. “We need to do more to educate the American people about these findings,” adds McAfee, director of the Office on Smoking and Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dr. Steven A. Schroeder of the University of California, San Francisco, wrote in a commentary in the journal, “More women die of lung cancer than of breast cancer. But there is no ‘race for the cure’ for lung cancer, no brown ribbon” or high-profile advocacy groups for lung cancer.”
Breast cancer prevention? Easily brandable and marketed.
Lung cancer prevention? Not so much, apparently.
I have friends and family who have smoked since their teens, with no plans on stopping. I think the next time I get an urge for a clove, I’ll just chew a sugar-free piece of gum. Wait, that sugar-free product will probably cause cancer eventually too. Damned if you do, you’re damned if you don’t.