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Smoking and Women

Every woman has her own reasons for smoking. And every woman has her own reasons for wanting to quit.

Quitting is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

Many women are surprised to learn that smoking is linked to unique health problems for women. Quitting will benefit you by reducing the occurrences of these problems.


  • You are more likely than men to have heart disease and stroke because of smoking.
  • Your chances of getting breast cancer are higher than for non-smoking women.
  • Do you take the birth control pill? If you smoke and you’re on the pill, your chances of having a blood clot, heart attack and stroke are higher. These risks increase as you get older. If you smoke and you are over 35, you should use a different birth control method.
  • You may have a more difficult time getting pregnant
  • You may have more pregnancy and birth problems
  • You may go through menopause earlier and have more unpleasant symptoms.
  • As you age, you may have thinner bones and have a greater chance of breaking a bone or getting a hip fracture.
  • You have a greater chance of getting rheumatoid arthritis (RA). RA is an inflammatory, chronic disease that causes swelling and pain in your joints.
  • You are more likely to get cataracts that will affect your vision. Cataracts are an eye disease where the lens of the eye is cloudy or foggy.
  • You have a greater chance of getting gum disease, which may lead to tooth loss and ulcers in the stomach.


The nicotine in tobacco makes quitting tough. So does dealing with a lot of stress. What are your stresses? Maybe you have children to care for. Maybe you have a busy work schedule. Maybe you feel isolated. Maybe you feel depressed.

Cigarettes relieve the stress caused by nicotine withdrawal. Having a cigarette may also give you a break – a time out. But this relief only lasts a short time. Smoking doesn’t do anything to change why you feel stressed. There are better ways to relieve stress that don’t harm your health.

Thousands of women have successfully quit smoking. You can too.

Nicotine replacement therapies, having a quit plan, lifestyle changes and more work to help you quit.  So does talking to someone and asking for their support.

The Tobacco Free Nova Scotia program offers free, confidential and non-judgemental support about how you can quit smoking. A caring counsellor can work with you, at your pace, to help you develop and follow your plan.

The best plan is your plan.

When you’re ready, we’re ready.


Sources of information: Pregnets; Liberation! Helping Women Quit Smoking: A Brief Tobacco Intervention Guide. British Columbia Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health; and, Smoke Free Women.