Tobacco Use and Cessation Among Women: Research and Treatment-Related Issues

Rahmanian SD, Diaz PT, Wewers ME.

Physicians at the Ohio State University have written a review article that discusses specific issues that are unique to women and tobacco use. Tobacco use is responsible for many diseases affecting women today, most notably COPD and lung cancer.

There has been a large increase in the number of tobacco-attributable diseases in women, possibly due to the advent of sex-targeted marketing. Research has shown that women may be more susceptible to the effects of tobacco and, thus, more likely to succumb to the consequences of long-term smoking.

The authors conclude that there is a spectrum of nicotine metabolism, with women on estrogen-only or combination pills having the fastest rate of nicotine metabolism, followed by women on progesterone-only pills, then by men and postmenopausal women. Pregnant women, they say, appear to have the highest rate of nicotine metabolism.

They have concluded that strategies to help lessen the epidemic of tobacco use in women include a greater emphasis on patient and physician education, devising smoking cessation programs geared specifically toward women, and increasing sex-specific research in tobacco-related diseases.

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