Nineteen years old teen was sitting in front of me. She was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome. She was with me for diet consultation.
Before making her diet chart, I inquired, “Do you smoke?”
Her response was ‘yes’.
“You will have to give up smoking,” I stated
“But why?” she demanded.
“Because slowly it will worsen your symptoms,” I replied
“For how long will I have to quit smoking?”, She asked.
“For a lifetime, if possible,” I replied.
“But smoking makes me look cool and my eyes smoky. Boys find me hot. I feel rebellious and independent. Smoking fills me with a sensation of superiority over humans,”, she replied.
“I am sorry, dear, but you are incorrect. Smoking is not at all cool. In fact, for females, cigarette smoking is more harmful,” I advised.
Anger raged the girl “Oh, so you are a doctor, and a dietician still hasn’t worn out off stereotypes. I guess you are among those who consider smoking taboo for women and portray ‘women who smoke’ low in character”, she shouted.
I was angry with her assertions, but I steadied myself. The girl badly needed counseling.
“Dear, I am not here to evaluate your character. I am here for your health concerns. Smoking is harmful to both men and women. It burns your lungs, increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases, ulcers, gum diseases, cataracts, and cancer.
Merely, you cannot deny the fact that the body of females is different from males. We have a uterus, ovaries, and mammary glands. Estrogen and progesterone hormones rule our bodies, and we menstruate every month. Smoking has an adverse impression on our menstrual cycle. It may alter the level of hormones and cause PMS and irregular menstruation. It may cause trouble in getting pregnant. Smoking increases the danger of ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, breast cancer, and cancer of the womb.
Breastfeeding and menopause deplete bone density, and smoking contributes to it. Every cigarette you smoke increase the risk of osteoporosis and arthritis.
In pregnant women smoking increases the chances of miscarriage, foetal abnormality, pre-term baby, and stillbirth”. I replied.
The good news is that the uptake of cigarettes in India has steadily fallen. Still, the worse news is that figures of women smokers, especially teenagers and women of reproductive age has increased and this is a topic of concern.
The reason why women smoke is a more significant matter of concern.
Some women smoke because they think boys find girls who smoke hot or cool.
But, a recent survey indicated that most of the men hate girls who smoke. The reasons given were that a lady who smokes smells bad, tastes bad, makes their car smell horrible, and is continuously busy with smoking.
Considerably, the same goes for the boys, and for all the above understanding, even girls hate boys who smoke. But believing that smoking makes you cool, hot, make you slim, or gives your eyes a smoky look is a nonsense.
Smoking will leave you with yellow teeth, dark lips, dark circles, bags under eyes, hair loss, and grey hair. It increases the damage caused to your skin due to free radicals. It pushes the signs of aging and makes you look old.
Cigarette contains nicotine; it suppresses your appetite, so you lose weight initially in an unhealthy manner. But later on, there is a hormonal imbalance which may lead to spontaneous weight gain. If you are over-weight, then follow a proper diet and perform some exercise to reach a healthy weight rather than inviting diseases from smoking.
Another reason why some girls smoke is that they feel independent and rebellious.
You do not need to burn your lungs to feel independent. Pay attention to your studies, take a job, explore your hidden talent and make your career. This will provide you with a genuine sense of independence.
If some women find smoking the best way to relieve stress, I will suggest her to try some exercise, yoga or meditation. Smoking may relax your mind temporary, but at the end, it exhausts your mind. On the long run, it disturbs your concentration and effects memory. On the other hand, exercising releases good hormones that bring positivity, increases concentration, improves memory and uplifts your mood. So when you have a healthy option to relax then why to smoke.
The silliest reason females give on why they smoke is to become equal to men.
There is an old proverb ‘If someone is jumping into the well, will you fall into the well too??’
Smoking is not a symbol of gender equality. Instead of encouraging men in your life to quit smoking, if you switch on to smoking, then what an example are you setting.
A woman is compared to nature because she nurtures life. It’s your responsibility to prepare our society smoke-free. So, stop smoking and also encourage the men in your lives to give up smoking.
Image via Pixabay
A passionate writer.
Homeopathic physician and nutritionist by profession
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