Poor Pakistani women unaware of smoking-related health effects

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Most women living in urban slums in Pakistan are aware that smoking harms women’s and children’s health, however, a new study reports that few of these women knew about specific smoking-related health effects.

Around one-third of women in the study knew that smoking can cause lung disease, but only seven percent knew that smoking could lead to heart disease. Few knew that smoking could lead to female-related health effects such as: low birth weight (seven percent); congenital abnormalities (five percent); pregnancy loss, still birth and preterm labor (less than one percent); and infertility and osteoporosis (zero percent). Only 20 percent understood the harmful effects of secondhand smoke on their children.

The study also found that the women’s limited health knowledge was largely due to illiteracy and lower levels of education.

“Understanding and attitudes needs to be improved by increasing health awareness and education of women in these urban communities with special emphasis on the effects of smoking on women’s health,” the study concluded.

Citation:
1. Bhanji S, Andrades M, Taj F, Khuwaja AK. Factors related to knowledge and perception of women about smoking: a cross sectional study from a developing country. BMC Women’s Health 2011; 11: 16 (open access)

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Smoking, secondhand smoke linked to breast cancer after menopause

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A study of nearly 80,000 middle-aged women in the U.S. links smoking with an increased risk of breast cancer after menopause. The study also found an association between secondhand smoke and breast cancer among these postmenopausal women.

Compared with women who had never smoked, breast cancer risk was elevated by nine percent among former smokers and by 16 percent among current smokers. Breast cancer risk was significantly higher among chain smokers, as well as those who started smoking in their teenage years. An increased risk of breast cancer persisted for up to 20 years after smoking cessation.

Among women who had never smoked, those with the most extensive exposure to secondhand smoke (10 years or more during childhood, 20 years or more in adulthood at home, and 10 years or more in adulthood at work) had a 32 percent excess risk of breast cancer compared with those who had never been exposed to passive smoking.

Source:
1. Luo J, Margolis KL, Wactawski-Wende J, et al. Association of active and passive smoking with risk of breast cancer among postmenopausal women: a prospective cohort study. BMJ 2011; 342: d1016. (open access)

Smoking increases breast cancer risk after menopause

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Postmenopausal women who smoke have up to a 16 percent higher risk of developing breast cancer compared to women who have never smoked, according to a 10-year study of 80,000 women. In addition, the risk of developing breast cancer was elevated by nine percent among women who used to smoke.

The study also finds that postmenopausal women who were exposed extensively to secondhand smoke, either in childhood or as adults, may have a more than 30 percent excess risk of developing breast cancer.

Read more at Suite101.

Source:
1. Luo J, Margolis KL, Wactawski-Wende J, et al. Association of active and passive smoking with risk of breast cancer among postmenopausal women: a prospective cohort study. BMJ 2011; 342: d1016. (open access)