As we recognize National Women’s Health Week this week, here are ten ways women can make a difference in not only tobacco-related issues, but also with their own health, and in their communities.

  1. Quit smoking or help a friend: Smoking is the No. 1 cause of preventable death among women in the United States. This week, encourage your friends, neighbors and family members to quit smoking by pointing them to free online resources like or Smoke Free Women. Too often, we think of smokers as people who simply can't kick their "nasty habit." That's dead wrong -- smoking is an addiction that most smokers desperately want to overcome.
  2. Don’t smoke while pregnant: Smoking during pregnancy can lead to serious health risks for your growing baby, such as low birth weight and lowered lung capacity. Give your child a healthy start on life and quit before or immediately during pregnancy. 
  3. Learn how you’re targeted: Women are specifically targeted by the tobacco industry. Products like Camel No. 9 and couture e-cigarettes are clearly marketed with women in mind. Learn just how the tobacco industry advertises to you and resist the ads by going smoke-free.
  4. Talk to your kids about tobacco: According to the most recent Surgeon General’s Report, 5.6 million kids alive today will die prematurely as a result of smoking. It’s important that we change that trend! Smoking can lower your child’s endurance, fade their looks, and reduce the number of years that they live. By working together we can help make the next generation a smoke-free one. 
  5. Support smoke-free housing: Second and third hand smoke can have serious implications for the health of families. Thankfully, landlords and managers are becoming more sensitive to the dangers of second-hand smoke in multi-unit housing. If you are a tenant, this resource from Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights can educate you on steps to make your housing smoke-free. 
  6. Clean your community: Cigarette butts are the most littered item globally, and they leach toxic chemicals when disposed of in this way. The toxic butts are not only eye sores, but cost communities and pose health risks to children and pets. Organize a local clean-up and let your neighbors know of the dangers of improperly disposed cigarettes. Learn how at
  7. Talk to your health care provider: Many smokers hide their status from their health care providers. Healthcare professionals are the first line in getting help about a tobacco (or other health) issue, yet according to research done by Legacy, in conjunction with Pfizer, one-in-ten smokers (13 percent) in the United States did not disclose their smoking status to their health care providers (HCP), who are among the most important resources that a smoker could have in quitting successfully. Talk to your health care provider, they can give you the tools you need to help you win your quit battle.
  8. Educate yourself on the Emerging Tobacco Products: How healthy is hookah? Why do some tobacco products come in flavors?  Know the facts on emerging tobacco products – ranging from e-cigarettes and little cigars to snus, dissolvables, and chew.  E-cigarette usage is exploding, with a doubling of e-cigarette use from 2011 to 2012 among middle and high school students and adults (18-34), according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) figures. A new report titled Vaporized: E-Cigarettes, Advertising, and Youth, examines the recent rise of e-cigarette use among youth. Another recent study reveals some of the advertising tactics being used by tobacco and e-cigarette companies to market these “emerging” products.
  9. Protect your pets: Second hand smoke can adversely impact the health of your dogs and cats. Protect your pets by supporting smoke-free parks and public places.
  10. Set a good example: New research released in Pediatrics this week showed how children exposed to nicotine-addicted parents are likely to become heavy smokers themselves. Be an inspiration to your friends and family, and quit while you’re ahead. 


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