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How Smoking affects Respiratory System in Women

By HERWriter
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According to the World Health Organization, smoking-related illnesses are the fourth leading killer of people worldwide. Smoking kills 1 out of 5 Americans (approximately 445,000 people) per year, and in Canada tobacco kills more people than car accidents, suicides, murders, AIDS, and drug use combined!

Smoking Facts

Did you know that:

- lung cancer kills more women than breast cancer
- post-menopausal women who smoke have lower bone density (osteoporosis) and an increased risk of fracture

- women who smoke experience more and more severe PMS, more painful menses, and premature menopause
- smoking increases the risk of cervical cancer
- smoking doubles the risk of cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death among women.

What does Tobacco do to the lungs exactly?

Most everyone knows that smoke from cigarettes (whether first-hand or second-hand) contains tar. With each amount of exposure, that tars builds up on the cilia in the nasal passages and respiratory tract, which our bodies need to clear out dust, germs, and other potentially harmful agents. This can only happen if the cilia are able to move back and forth - like little brooms.

If these cilia are stuck with tar they can't move and so they can't clear out dust and germs and these can settle in the respiratory tract, nasal passages, and/or lungs and become more serious conditions (COPD, asthma irritant, bronchitis).

Smoking not only impedes the ability of the lungs to intake, expel, and use oxygen, it also means that the heart has to work twice as hard to get the lower amounts of oxygen out to the body.

New Research

Research from McGill University (Montreal, Canada) published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that some smokers with a familial predisposition to COPD will experience more rapid and progressive advancement of the disease, but that progression of the disease varies from individual to individual. Analysis also suggests that smoking may play a role in the development of other autoimmune deficiencies if there is a family history.

Add a Comment2 Comments


Thanks, Pat. I was a little surprised at some of the information, as well.

November 9, 2009 - 7:22pm
Expert HERWriter Guide Blogger

Hi Darlene - Fascinating information, especially the fact that lung cancer kills more women than breast cancer. I have friends, all non-smokers, who've battled this disease successfully, but it wasn't easy. Thanks for providing this comprehensive look at how smoking impacts the respiratory system!
Take good care,

November 9, 2009 - 6:14pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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