According to the 2010 Wisconsin Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS), nearly a fifth of women in Northern Wisconsin currently smoke. In addition, 18% of Northern Wisconsin women smoke during pregnancy—more than the national average.
“According to the latest Surgeon General’s report, among female smokers 35 years of age and older, the risk of dying from coronary heart disease is now higher than that of male smokers,” said Marta Koelling of the Oneida County Health Department. “Once we saw that statistic, we realized we needed to get this information out there.”
Another startling statistic from the new Surgeon General’s Report is that women who smoke are up to 40 times more likely to develop COPD (which includes lung diseases like chronic bronchitis and emphysema) than women who don’t smoke.
The benefits of quitting are immediate and lasting. Twenty-four hours after quitting smoking the chance of a heart attack decreases; one month after quitting, smoking related coughs and sinus congestion are reduced; and ten years after quitting smoking the risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a current smoker.
In addition to the health benefits gained from quitting smoking, many women say they feel better after they quit smoking. They have more energy when they walk, play with their kids, or do something active. They also report that their skin looks healthier.
Officials from the Northwood’s Tobacco-Free Coalition encourage women who smoke to talk to their doctor or take advantage of free assistance provided in Wisconsin. “THE WISCONSIN TOBACCO QUIT Line is a free resource that provides medication, coaching, and the opportunity to participate in web forums. It is available 24 hours per day, seven days per week AT 1-800-QUIT NOW and any current smokers are encouraged to call,” said Marta Koelling. “Taking the first step to quitting smoking may not be easy, but you don’t have to do it alone.”