Women and the Health Consequences of Smoking

The health consequences of smoking for women posed unique challenges to physicians and researchers. Whereas decades of evidence on the adverse effects of smoking and tobacco use, were evident among men; women only began to smoke in significant numbers enough to raise concern in the first decades of the 20th century.

Over the course of the century, as smoking rates rose, so did the incidents of smoking-related illnesses among women and subsequent deaths from those illnesses. Women also had a unique health concern that was significantly affected by cigarette use, pregnancy. Smoking while pregnant resulted in babies with diminished development, lower birth weights, and in some cases neonatal death.

This section provides information and articles about the health consequences of smoking for women and the historical context in which these issues have been viewed and misconstrued.