Dear women who smoke,
I would like to gently and humbly suggest that you add something to your list of resolutions for the coming year: Quit smoking. Really, it's way past time to give up the deadly habit. You know that at least as well as I. For your sake and for the sake of everyone who cares about you, in 2012, you really should just chuck the cigarette habit once and for all.
I know it's hard -- that in fact it can feel all but impossible -- but there are so many reasons to quit. Just last week, a study came out finding that women who were longtime smokers were twice as likely to develop squamous cell skin cancer. The smoking/squamous cancer link was not significant for men.
Seriously, the risks for women who smoke are just staggering: not only heart disease, respiratory diseases, and other cancers (like lung, mouth, larynx, pharynx, esophagus, kidney, pancreas, kidney, and bladder), but also potential dangers from oral contraceptives, risks to our children in utero, infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease, menstrual problems and menopause issues, and osteoperosis, as well as cervical, breast, and vulvar cancer.
Smoking is responsible for nearly one in every five deaths in the United States, and the dangers hit women particularly hard.
And yet 21.1 percent of women in the U.S. still smoke. That's more than one in five. And that ... is ... insane. Smoking damages our health, hurts our loved ones, and shortens our lives. That's the worst of it. But also, it stinks up our clothes and our homes. Ruins our looks. And despite what our teenage selves may have thought, it doesn't make us look cool. Just the opposite, in fact.
But this year, 2012, this is the year you can quit. Do it for yourself. Do it for your husband or partner, your mother or father. Do it for your best friend. Do it for your kids. For so many people and for so many reasons -- as the Nike marketing geniuses once said -- just do it.
Do you plan to quit smoking in 2012?
Image via Fried Dough/Flickr