In the last twenty years, the number of female smokers has increased dramatically: +60%, with higher risks related to the health of the lungs and the cardiovascular system. Public health experts sound the alarm: women should stay away from the cigarette. We talked about it with Dr. Giulia Veronesi, head of robotic and thoracic surgery at Humanitas.
Worrying increase in the number of strong smokers
They are not only more in number, but they also smoke with more determination, regardless of the risks that this entails for the health. Women are being accused by the doctors of being more and more victims of the vice of cigarettes and more and more inclined to consume it without rules. In the last 20 years, the proportion of large smokers, who consume more than twenty cigarettes a day, has even tripled. According to a survey conducted by the Umberto Veronesi Foundation, 34.7% of the Italians consume three or more cigarettes a day, while one out of ten of them smokes as many as 16 cigarettes a day. A third of those interviewed stated that the friends, colleagues and family members who smoke are “all, almost all or many”. In the next few years, the number of female smokers may be equal to or greater than the number of males.
Lung and pancreatic cancer is on the rise
A trend that has seen the numbers of smokers grow sadly goes hand in hand with the increase in smoking-related illnesses: lung and pancreatic cancers are often lethal. On the other hand, for the same diseases, the data for men are slightly but steadily decreasing. In fact, it seems that the drugs that are used to get away from nicotine addiction, including transdermal patches, inhalers, chewing gums and sugarcoated almonds, are more effective in male individuals, while for women it works better to control the stress that results in the instinct to smoke. A study published in the magazine “Nicotine & Tobacco Research” has revealed how smokers have a different response to stressful stimuli when compared to smokers with more negative response, higher level of stress and craving to smoke even if this does not result in increased cigarette consumption.