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eISSN: 1643-3750

The many faces of tobacco use among women

Alicja Sieminska, Ewa Jassem

(Department of Allergology and Pneumonology, Medical University of Gdańsk, Gdańsk, Poland)

Med Sci Monit 2014; 20:153-162

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.889796

Published: 2014-01-30


Smoking is still considered to be mainly a male problem. However, it is estimated that there are approximately 250 million women worldwide who smoke cigarettes and millions more women who use smokeless tobacco products. This article addresses the many facets of tobacco use among women. The aim of the paper is to increase recognition among clinicians and researchers of the specific characteristics of female tobacco use. Together with providing epidemiological data on the distribution of tobacco use among women and data from population-based analyses on sociocultural factors that influence it, the article presents tobacco use during pregnancy as a particularly important public health problem. Further, the article points out sex-related differences (ie, physiological, psychological, or behavioral) between male and female tobacco use. A special focus is on the important role of ovarian hormones. Adverse effects of tobacco use to women and their children as well as tobacco-related morbidities and comorbidities are presented, and women’s greater susceptibility to tobacco constituents as compared to men is stressed. Awareness of these differences can contribute to improvement of the effectiveness of smoking cessation programs addressed both to the specific female population and to an individual smoking woman.

Keywords: Gonadal Steroid Hormones - metabolism, Female, Humans, Male, Maternal-Fetal Exchange - physiology, Morbidity, Ovary - metabolism, Pregnancy, Prevalence, Sex Factors, Socioeconomic Factors, Sociological Factors, Tobacco Use - epidemiology, Tobacco Use Cessation - statistics & numerical data, Tobacco Use Disorder - physiopathology



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