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Minority Women's Health

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African-American women have lower smoking rates than white women. However, their lung cancer rates are no lower than white women's. African-American women are also more likely to die from lung cancer than white women. Smoking is the biggest risk factor for lung cancer. And research suggests that African-Americans who smoke are more likely to develop lung cancer than other smokers.

Smoking increases your risk of major health problems, including:

Smoking causes many other problems related to reproductive health:

  • Women who smoke have a higher risk of cervical cancer.
  • Women who take birth control pills and also smoke have a higher risk of stroke.
  • Smoking can make illnesses last longer and make it harder to get pregnant.
  • Smoking during pregnancy can cause the baby to be born too early and other problems. Smoking is also a risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

On top of all the health problems caused by smoking, it also stains your teeth, fingers, and fingernails, gives you bad breath, and causes wrinkles.

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More information on smoking

Read more from womenshealth.gov

  • Smoking and How to Quit — These pages from womenshealth.gov empower women to quit smoking and all forms of tobacco use. Learn why quitting matters to your health, your quality of life, and the health of others. The site also offers strategies that can help you quit for good.

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Content last updated: May 18, 2010.

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