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Ashtrays to ashes

November 14th 2012 / Hilly Janes


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Stub out any thoughts that smoking might help you lose weight and look glamorous... there's nothing hot about lung cancer, says health editor Hilly Janes

If you think lighting up makes you glamorous, independent and even thin, snap out of it sister. It’s what the tobacco industry wants women to think but here’s reason to stub out your last cigarette. Deaths from lung cancer among women are now set to rise from about 26,000 in 2010 to 95,000 in 2040, according to a new report by King’s College London for Macmillan Cancer Support. This means double the amount of women than men will die from the disease.

It comes hot on the heels of news in October, reported by Get the Gloss, that smoking cuts women’s lifespan by ten years and that two-thirds of all deaths of female smokers in their 50s, 60s, and 70s are caused by lung cancer, chronic lung disease, heart disease or stroke.

This was the generation that was targeted in the 1960s by the tobacco industry as a growing market and one brand was even called Virginia Slims. Now smartphones are being used to promote smoking: an October report in the journal Tobacco Control identified 107 pro-smoking apps. Now that smoking bans have been introduced in many European countries, the tobacco industry is cynically targeting women in the developing world to light up. Virginia Slims? Let’s change that to Virginia Stubbs.

The good news for the offspring of groovy Sixties chicks is that the research suggests that quitting before you are 30 can reduce the risk of dying from smoking-related diseases by almost 100 per cent. Young smokers are still a real cause for concern though: two-thirds start before the age of 18 according to the anti-smoking campaign group ASH, and more of them are girls. In 2010, 14 per cent of 15-year-old girls were regular smokers compared to 10 per cent of boys, according to Cancer Research UK.

Unlike our Sixties sisters, who were positively encouraged to get puffing by the tobacco industry, the emphasis now is on helping us to give up. It’s not easy it takes on average at least four attempts, but top tips from the smoking section on the website www.netdoctor.co.uk are a great place to start.

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