Monday, January 31, 2005

Are cigarettes sexist?

Cigarettes are more harmful to women than to men:

Cigarette smoking is more harmful to women than to men, cutting more than a decade off female smokers' life expectancy but much less for their male peers, Dutch government research suggested Monday.

Statistics agency CBS said a comparison of the numbers of Dutch who died of lung cancer in 2003 and smoking trends showed the habit cut a Dutch woman's life expectancy by 11 years, versus three for a man.

"Women who died from lung cancer were younger than men who died from the same cause. This means the harmful effects of smoking are more serious for women than for men," it said, but did not suggest a reason for the difference.

Cigarette smoking is believed to be one of the main causes of lung cancer as well as other cancers and lung diseases.

The CBS said a rise in lung cancer among Dutch women since the 1970s correlated with an increase in smoking by women.

On average, female lung cancer sufferers died at age 70 versus an average life expectancy for Dutch women of 81.

Male lung cancer sufferers lived to an age of 73 on average, compared with an average expectancy of 76 years for Dutch men.

The CBS said life expectancy for men in the Netherlands has increased by about five years since the 1970s as they have smoked less.

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