Women Adopt Freedom to Smoke, but Face Greater Risks

Sumber media : Jakarta Globe

By. Dessy Sagita


Misperceptions about freedom of expres-sion and gender equality have been blamed for the growing number of female smokers in Indonesia.National Commission on Tobacco Control adviser Kartono Muhammad said many women started their smoking habit as a form of retaliation to public attitudes.”Many of the women who smoke were influenced by their boyfriends, friends and considered smoking as [a form of] freedom, liberalization,” Kartono said on Tuesday.Kartono saul that data from the Health Ministry showed that smoking prevalence among women increased by fourfold, from 1.3 percent in 2001 to 5.2 percent in 2007.It also said smoking in 2007 rose threefbld among males and fivefold among female teenagers, compared with data from 1995.Kartono said that in the past, female smokers were held in a negative light and that it was considered inappropriate for women to smoke.


This perception prompted women to retaliate and translated freedom of expres-sion incorrectly by smoking, despite the fact that smoking impacts on women were greater compared to men.Female smokers are at a greater risk than at any time in recent decades from lung cancer and other ailments linked to their tobacco use, according to a study.The research in the New England Journal of Medicine found a marked increase in deaths among female smokers from lung cancer, chronic obstructive lung disease and other health ailments.The study of more than 2.2 million adults 55 years and older found that women who smoked in the 1960s had a 2.7 times higher risk of lung cancer thanthose who never smoked.Butamongpresent-day female smokers, the risk is 25.7 times higher.The researchers found that the increased risk from smoking has been significant enough to outweigh the effects of medical advances. The study was led by Michael Thun, a physician recently retired as vice president emeritus of the American Cancer Society.He said it was worrisome that the “increase in risk among female smokers has continued for decades after the serious health risks… were well established.”A proliferation in “light” and “mild” cigarette brands marketed toward women ex-plains part of the increase, he added. “Smoke from these cigarettes is inhaled more deeply into the lungs of smokers to maintain the accustomed absorption of nicotine.”Additional reporting from AFP


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