over the last thirty years in France, the number of women smokers has grown steadily (12% in 1965, 35% in 1991).
Women are smoking at younger ages: more than 50% of young women smoke at age 18.
The reasons for this recent explosion in women’s smoking seem to be highly linked to the parallel changes in women’s behaviour as they seek social autonomy. The medical consequences did not delay:
Up until recently, lung cancer was, for men, the primary cause of cancer mortality, but for women it was well behind breast cancer. Now, lung cancer is becoming more and more frequent among women in France (7th cause of cancer mortality); and, since 1984 in the United States, it has become the primary cause of cancer death, ahead of breast cancer. In Canada, it is the second most frequent cause of cancer mortality (4).
The deaths from cancer caused by tobacco are only a part of total tobacco-related mortality: In France, tobacco is responsible for 60,000 deaths per year, 55,000 men and 5,000 women. With tobacco use becoming more precocious and more feminine (3), in the forty years to come we can expect men’s tobacco-related deaths per year to double (110,000) and women’s rates to increase ten-fold (55,000)!
KeywordsNicotine Smoke Bronchitis Karen Rebalance
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