Despite the hazard to the lungs, potential lungs cancer and complications during pregnancy, women in Nigeria, especially younger ones smoke more than their male counterparts, Post-Nigeria gathered.
Thanks to modernization and unhealthy imitation of the western world, Nigerian teenage girls between the ages of 18-40 have risen to the challenge of smoking more than 2 packs a day, than their male counterparts, reports say.
In a recent survey conducted by our correspondent across the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, more teenage girls were found puffing away packs of cigarettes and shisha pots in a single sitting, particularly during weekends.
One wouldn’t be wrong to say the popular adage “what a man can do, a woman can do better”, is now being adapted to challenge male in this regard.
To understand the sudden attractiveness to the habit despite the warnings, criticisms and obvious dangers smoking possess to women, many female smokers affirmed that they picked up the habit for different reasons
While some stated that they started smoking because its a symbol of freedom, others argued that it was just an occasional habit to speed up digestion and also help them relax.
Rita, who is an undergraduate and sees nothing wrong with smoking stated that she started smoking in the university, first to feel among, but later it became a lifestyle.
“I started smoking when I entered the university. It makes you look ‘hard’. If you want to be reckoned with and accepted on campus, then you must pick up some habits. I smoke like a pack a day, depending on the occasion and what I’m sipping on. I smoke more when I am at a party because it makes me cool. I don’t see anything wrong with it,” Rita said.
Another smoker Toyo, while commenting on the matter said she couldn’t do without smoking at least 10-15 sticks of cigarette at a stretch, stressing that cigarette and alcohol makes her bold.
“I don’t know how I got into this habit but I am very sure I was influenced by my friends. Smoking, just like drinking alcohol makes me bold because I am naturally shy but once I take like 15 sticks of cigarette and a glass of vodka I become bold and I can face anybody at any time”.
She added: “I can smoke up to 3 packs a day. I know smoking is dangerous for my health but I can’t help it because is the only thing that gives me appetite”.
Mrs. Ter, a business woman in her 40’s believes smoking makes a woman appear sexier. She noted that the act is socially acceptable to men, ‘at least her husband loved it’, adding although she has quit smoking; however her husband never saw smoking as a problem in their marriage.
“My husband married me an occasional smoker. He taught that it made me sexier. It didn’t stop me from being a good wife and mother to my kids, the entrepreneur added.
Another female smoker Pamela (receptionist) who disclosed that she grew up in a family of smokers, said that she has been smoking for as long as she can remember; noting that smoking is a symbol of beauty and confidence.
“My dad and elder brothers are all smokers and so naturally I learnt how to smoke from childhood. I picked up the habit seriously in the university. With the freedom and all, I started smoking heavily until I graduated. I still smoke in the comfort of my room and when I’m hanging out. Smoking is a sort of status symbol for young women. It makes us look beautiful and confident,” she said.
The anti-tobacco campaign in Nigeria appears to have failed in shielding youngsters from picking up the habit of smoking.
Despite the 18+ tag on packs and warning: “smokers are liable to die young” how come minors still get to lay their hands on it?
Manufacturers and marketers of cigarettes have continued to devise new ways of linking attractiveness to smoking, such as electronic cigarette, cigarette vaporizers and filters which easily fascinates ladies to fall victim, after all the caveat on the cigarette packs permits sale of cigarettes to adults above 18.
From the survey, Post-Nigeria deduced that ladies smoke for the same reason as men ‘for fun and to calm their nerves especially when socializing but women smoke more, judging by the packs of cigarette ladies carry in their bags.
The side effect of smoking is known to many, but the dangers to women’s health can never be over-emphasized.
Abiodun Ademola, a gynecologist stated that “female smokers often end up with numerous ailments like infertility “women who smoke tend to have their fertility affected and causes wrinkles) respiratory diseases, heart attacks, cancers particularly lung cancer, breast cancer, cancer of the mouth, among others.
He added “Some smokers say that smoking helps them overcome stress. Unknown to them, the stress levels of adult smoker is higher than those of nonsmokers- The unavailability of cigarette, which helps the smoker in times of stress, leads the smoker to rather feel more depressed.”
The resentment many had for women cigarette smokers is gradually disappearing and girls are more determined to prove that they could do better in areas men once held sway.