Department of Psychiatry
Penn Behavioral Health

Penn Center for Women's Behavioral Wellness

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Nicotine Use

Women who smoke cigarettes are at greater risk of bone density loss, early onset menopause, menstrual cycle irregularity, delayed conception, ectopic pregnancy and spontaneous abortion, as well as poor fetal development. Compared to males with similar degrees of nicotine exposure, women are at greater risk of cardiovascular disease including, myocardial infarction and lung diseases such as COPD and cancer (Perkins 2001; Prescott et al., 1998a, 1998b). Moreover, findings indicate that women may enjoy greater health benefits from stopping smoking than their male counterparts (Wilson et al., 2000; Connett et al., 2002).

Yet, women continue to smoke, and adolescent girls are developing the habit at an alarming rate. As such, women have more difficulty quitting smoking than men. There are several theories as to why women have more difficulty stopping than men. Some of these theories include an increased risk of depression in women who stop smoking. However, it is important for




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