Are women really targets of tobacco companies? It is interesting to note that women did not smoke in significant numbers until the 1930s and 1940s when they were targeted by tobacco manufacturers. Lucky Strike cigarettes saw a 312 percent increase in sales as a result of its "Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet" advertising campaign. This forever established the connection between smoking and slimness. By 1959, 27 percent of women smoked on a regular basis. Currently 22 percent of women smoke, and what's more alarming is that 30 percent of high school senior girls smoke. Obviously our teenage girls are not getting the true message about smoking and are falling into the traps set by tobacco manufacturers.
Dispelling the myths
Myth #1: It won't happen to me. A lot of people think they are immune from the harmful effects of smoking. Unfortunately, the risk is the same for everyone, and when they get heart disease, lung cancer, etc., it is too late. As many as one-half of long-term smokers will die of causes related to tobacco.
Myth #2: It's not like I'm hurting anyone but myself. Secondhand smoke causes at least 35,000 deaths a year in nonsmokers. Also children of parents who smoke are at greater risk to have asthma, ear infections, and upper respiratory infections. Women who smoke are also more likely to have smaller, sicker babies, be infertile, and have more miscarriages.
Myth #3: I'm not hooked. Most teenagers who smoke daily do not expect to continue smoking, but most are still smoking five years later. Nicotine is a highly addictive drug, as addictive as cocaine or heroin.
Myth #4: Sure I smoke, but at least I don't do drugs, have unsafe sex, or get drunk. Cigarettes kill more people than AIDS, illegal drugs, car crashes, homicides, and suicides combined.
Myth #5: It's better to smoke; if I quit, I'll get fat. What's a few pounds compared with the bad breath, smelly clothes, yellow teeth and nails, brittle skin, wasted money, and bad health. Most people don't like to kiss an ash tray!! Smoking is not attractive.
Myth #6: Light cigarettes are healthier for me. Light cigarettes have the same ingredients as regular cigarettes, including lead, ammonia, benzene, DDT, butane gas, carbon monoxide, arsenic, and polonium 210. Most people end up smoking more cigarettes per day because they do have less nicotine.
Myth #7: I've tried to quit but I can't. When you quit smoking, you take control of your life. It's your body and your life, don't give up the fight. There are many products to help and people to give you support. If you have the desire to quit, ask your doctor for help.