Women who smoke cigarettes get lung disease earlier than men
New research says that women who smoke cigarettes get lung disease earlier than men
The study was conducted by Dr. Inga-Cecillie Soerheim of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, as well as the UNiversity of Bergen in Norway.
Dr. Soerheim and her team examined 954 people in Norway with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. COPD is a progressive disease characterized by increasingly difficult breathing. It is most often induced by cigarette smoking
and includes the conditions emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
“The gender difference in COPD susceptibility seems to be most important when smoking exposure is low. Women may tolerate small amounts of tobacco worse than men,” Dr. Inga-Cecilie Soerheim, co-author of the research explained
“Many people believe that their own smoking is too limited to be harmful — that a few cigarettes a day represent a minimal risk, but there is no such thing as a safe amount of cigarette smoking. Our data suggest that this is particularly true for female smokers.”
Though the reason is unknown, Soerheim had a few theories. “Women have smaller airways. Therefore, each cigarette may do more harm. Also, there are gender differences in the metabolism of cigarette smoke. Genes and hormones could also be important,” she said.