Tobacco is an important part of American Indian and Alaska Native culture. Yet, cigarette smoking is not a traditional way to use tobacco. American Indians and Alaska Natives have the highest smoking rates of any group in the United States. In fact, 29 percent of American Indian and Alaska Native women smoke — more than any other minority. Smoking increases your risk of major health problems, including:
Smoking causes lung cancer. Lung cancer is a leading cause of cancer deaths for American Indians and Alaska Natives. 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). In one study of pregnant mothers, American Indians and Alaska Natives reported higher rates of smoking during the last three months of pregnancy.
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.
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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