Category Archives: smoking among women

Study: Large amount of secondhand smoke causes miscarriages, stillbirths in pregnant women

pregnant woman

A really eye-opening study done in Buffalo shows that pregnant women who inhale a lot of secondhand smoke have a higher incidence of stillbirths, ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages than women who do not.

It’s long been known that smoking is bad for pregnant women and their babies, but this is the first study I’ve seen showing how secondhand smoke is damaging to pregnant women and their babies. Really powerful study.

This story will sure to make the smokers’ rights’ crowd go nuts. I haven’t tangled with that crowd in a long time, but one of their loudest arguments — in complete defiance of absolute reams of studies stating otherwise — is that secondhand smoke is essentially harmless and all the studies stating otherwise were just “junk science.” A lot of people actually listened to these people 10-15 years ago, but they don’t have much of an audience anymore.

These people are just like global warming denialists and people who denied for decades that smoking causes lung cancer.  The study compared populations of women who were exposed to secondhand smoke before and during their pregnancies to women who were never exposed to secondhand smoke.

According to the conclusions:

For nonsmoking women exposed to the highest levels of secondhand smoke, the study reported a 17 percent higher risk of miscarriage, a 55 percent higher risk for stillbirth and a 61 percent higher risk of ectopic pregnancy, a complication when a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus.

Those risks approached the risks seen among women who smoked more than 100 cigarettes in their lifetime, the researchers said.

The highest level of lifetime secondhand smoke exposure was defined by childhood exposure for longer than 10 years, adult home exposure for more than 20 years and adult work exposure for more than 10 years.

Some of those numbers are pretty startling — a 55 percent increase in stillbirths. Christ, if you gotta smoke, go ahead and smoke, just don’t smoke around kids … or pregnant women. Please, just don’t.

“The significance of the study is that it shows that secondhand smoke is more harmful than previously thought, not just during pregnancy but over a woman’s lifetime,” said Vince Willmore, vice president for communications at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids in Washington, D.C.

“Hopefully, information like this will encourage people who smoke to be more sensitive about smoking in the house,” said Gary Giovino, chairman of the University at Buffalo’s Department of Community Health and Health Behavior.


The stigma of lung cancer — do smokers “deserve” lung cancer? (No!)


A very interesting opinion piece that I can personally relate to, about the continuing stigma of lung cancer.

I have on a number of occasions no matter how incredibly hard I try to bend over backward to not attack smokers or act superior to smokers either online or in real life, been accused of being down on smokers. I think part of this is because many smokers deep down inside put up with constant stigma over their smoking and frankly, get understandably defensive about it, because hey, we all have some bad habits and none of us are perfect.

Anyway, that stigma also applies to lung cancer. Lung cancer is the most deadly form of cancer; more people die of lung cancer in the U.S. than the next four types of cancer — combined. Smoking is in fact the primary cause of lung cancer — about 85 percent of the people who get lung cancer are either smokers or former smokers.

But, that also means that 15 percent of those people with lung cancer are nonsmokers (20 percent of women who get lung cancer are nonsmokers). Lung cancer not only has an environmental component, it has a genetic component. There is a reason why only 10 percent of smokers die of lung cancer. It’s bad luck+a bad habit.

Dr. Lecia V. Sequist, (a medical oncologist at  Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, an associate professor of medicine Harvard Medical School. and a member of the LUNGevity Foundation Scientific Advisory Board), writes on, about the stigma of lung cancer and the mentality of that people who die of lung cancer “did it to themselves.” The stigma has resulted in a lot of grant monies and donations going toward finding cures for cancers other than lung cancer.

It’s something I can relate to because I have been very guilty of hearing about someone dying of lung cancer, and then immediately blurting out, “were they a smoker?” I really, really try not to do that anymore.

Dr. Sequist writes:

Tell a friend or colleague that your aunt just found out she has lung cancer. Almost always the response will be, “Did she smoke?” Then tell someone else that your aunt just found out she has breast cancer, or colon cancer, or any other type of cancer you can think of. This time the response will be pure sympathy, without any blame attached.

I don’t think people necessarily do this for a bad reason. I think it’s a normal reaction of “well it couldn’t happen to me … I don’t smoke.”

This is interesting, according to to Dr. Sequist, (and I have never seen these numbers before and am still digesting them) 60 percent of new lung cancer cases are among nonsmokers and former smokers — not current smokers. Wow, that a high number (remember that 15 percent number I quoted earlier). What that tells me is a lot of people are acknowledging that smoking is really bad for them, quitting, and then 10 years later being diagnosed with lung cancer. That is one of the cruelties of lung cancer. Even if you do the right thing and quit, your risk of lung cancer decreases … but it is still higher than a person who never smoked.

And as far as how smoking is affecting funding, this paragraph from Dr. Sequist:

Unfortunately, the stigma associated with lung cancer has translated to a massive inequality in research funding. When analyzing the combined 2012 cancer research dollars granted by federal organizations, for every woman who dies of breast cancer, more than $26,000 in federal research funding is devoted to breast cancer research. But for every woman who dies of lung cancer, just over $1,000 federal dollars are invested. The difference is staggering.

So, basically breast cancer is receiving 26 times more funding per cancer case than lung cancer among women. Wow.

As far as the attitude that people who smoke and die and lung cancer getting what they deserve, all I can say is how is your glass house? Are you overweight? Do you drink? Smoke pot? Take prescription drugs? Last perfect person died 2,000 years ago. (Even on this article, there is some snot-nosed troll spending hours pissing on smokers with lung cancer. One of the reasons I don’t comment on CNN stories.)

I watched my dad slowly drown in his own bodily fluids at the age of 49. I can’t imagine a worse way to go, honestly. No one deserves that. No one. Not Adolph Hitler, not anyone. So, no, no one “deserves” lung cancer.

Pepe’s Sexy Time Lounge post — smoking can make your nipples fall off

Canadian Pamela Anderson ... and her friends.

This will be the sexiest post I’ll ever make.

A plastic surgeon came out this week and said smoking can make your nipples fall off — well if you are a woman who has had a certain kind of plastic surgery on her breasts. The guy is dead serious and claims it has happened several times. The smoking kills the circulation to the breasts, which probably already have circulation issues after a breast lift.


He urges women getting breast lifts to quit smoking and says with a couple of his patients, he was forced to resort to using leeches to save their nipples.

Wow, leeches on your nipples. If that isn’t enough to motivate you to quit smoking, I don’t know what is.

Lung cancer rates dropping for men … and finally for women, too


Great news from the Centers for Disease Control.

Compiling data from 2008 (it takes a few years to put this together), in a trend that began in the 1990s, the lung cancer rate for men in the United States continued to drop.

Better news, however, is the lung cancer rate for women dropped for the second straight year. Lung cancer rates for women have been highly stubborn in refusing to drop, even though the smoking rate among women has dropped over the past 30 years. The fact that more non-smoking women get lung cancer than non-smoking men might also have some effect on the lung cancer rate for women being so stubborn.

In 1999, the lung cancer rate for men was about 93 cases per 100,000 population. In 2008, that dropped all the way down to about 79 cases per 100,000.

Lung cancer rate dropping
Lung cancer rate dropping

In 1999, the lung cancer rate for women was about 54 cases per 100,000. That increased to about 57 cases per 100,000 by 2006, but then has dropped back down to about 53 cases per 100,000 in 2008. Finally, that lower smoking rate for women is starting to pay dividends (Remember, there is an infamous “30-year lag” between smoking rate and lung cancer diagnoses. Lung cancer really didn’t become an epidemic in America until the 1930s, after cigarettes became popular in the early 1900s.)

Again, this is outstanding news. Lung cancer is the No. 1 cancer killer in America (about 160,000 people a year), and more than any other cancer, it is almost directly the result of lifestyle choices. About 85 percent of the people who get lung cancer are either smokers or former smokers (about 90 percent of men and 80 percent of women).

The CDC study broke down the lung cancer rates by region:

In the South, among men, the lung cancer rate dropped from about 106 cases per 100,000 population in 1999 to about 88 cases per 100,000 in 2008 (Another way of looking at this is one male out of 940 in the South had lung cancer in 1999; back in the late 90s, the smoking rate among men in the South was still above 40 percent.).

In the South, among women, the lung cancer rate dropped from about 61 cases per 100,000 in 2005 to about 60 cases per 100,000 in 2008. Not much of a drop, but it might be the beginning of a long-term trend.

Lung Cancer men
Lung Cancer men

In the Northeast, among men, the lung cancer rate dropped from about 91 cases per 100,000 in 1999 to about 81 cases per 100,000 in 2008. Among women, the lung cancer rate unfortunately rose from about 55 cases per 100,000 in 1999 to about 59 cases per 100,000 per 2008. This is the one bit of bad news in the study.

In the Midwest, among men, the lung cancer rate dropped from  about 97 cases per 100,000 in 1999 to 86 cases per 100,000 in 2008. In the Midwest, among women, the lung cancer rate has dropped from about 59 cases per 100,000 in 2006 to 57 cases per 100,000 in 2008.

In the West, there has been the most dramatic drop in lung cancer rates. The West also has the lowest smoking rates of any region in the country. Hawaii, California, Utah and Idaho are among the four lowest smoking rate states in the country.

Lung cancer women
Lung cancer women

In the West, the lung cancer rate for men dropped from about 77 cases per 100,000 in 1999 to about 60 cases per 100,000 in 2008, a decrease of 22 percent. In fact, the lung cancer rate for men in the West was roughly the same as women in the South in 2008.

In the West, among women, the lung cancer rate dropped from 50 cases per 100,000 in 2006 to about 45 cases per 100,000 in 2008. It appears the West is a driving force for that lung cancer rate finally beginning to drop among women nationwide.

Lung cancer death rate drops for women … for first time in 40 years

Great news! Smiley

Get this, for the first time in FOUR DECADES, the lung cancer death rate for women has FINALLY dropped.


The lung cancer death rate for women has been STUBBORNLY persistent, even though a much smaller percentage of women smoke today. This is partly because a relatively large percentage (roughly 20 percent) of lung cancer cases among women occur in women who have never smoked.

According to this this report from the National Cancer Institute, between 2003 and 2007, the lung cancer death rate for men in the U.S. dropped 2.5 percent a year. That’s good news, but not necessarily new news. The death rate from lung cancer among men has been dropping since the 1990s. However, the lung cancer death rate during that period for women dropped 0.9 percent. That’s not a dramatic drop, but it’s the first time since the 1970s that rate has finally dropped.

Why? Fewer smokers, obviously, but I also think it’s because those who do smoke, smoke less than they do 40 years ago, and there’s less exposure to secondhand smoke.

Overall, there was a decrease in the death rate for all cancers during that time. Fewer smokers, better detection and more successful treatment, especially for childhood leukemia were all reasons why. The one bit of bad news is there was a slight increase in incidence of childhood leukemia during that time (I’m guessing to more toxins in the environment and food, maybe).