The rising number of women smokers

THE number of young women putting themselves at risk of lung cancer by smoking is increasing in west Suffolk, a leading health official has warned.The dangers of increased smoking patterns in young women has been highlighted by the Director of Public Health at the Suffolk West Primary Care Trust, Dr Rosie Frankenberg, in a new report.

THE number of young women putting themselves at risk of lung cancer by smoking is increasing in west Suffolk, a leading health official has warned.

The dangers of increased smoking patterns in young women has been highlighted by the Director of Public Health at the Suffolk West Primary Care Trust, Dr Rosie Frankenberg, in a new report.

In 1999-2001 69 woman died from lung cancer in west Suffolk, compared to 112 men, but the rising number of women now taking up the habit is putting them at greater risk than ever before.

Lung cancer is the cancer which kills the most people in the area and a survey last year showed 33.2% of people in Suffolk smoke, which is above the national average of 31.8%. Lung cancer deaths in west Suffolk are still lower than the national average they are higher than the east of England average.


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Dr Frankenberg said: "Especially worrying is the recent increase in smoking amongst young women. We are seeing more young women taking up smoking, when the trend it other age groups is for people to quit. The danger is that these women will find themselves unable to stop and could eventually die as a result of their addiction."

It is believed the reason for the higher number of male death from lung cancer is down to the higher number of men smoking in previous decades, but the doctor warned the mortality rate in women will rise unless they quit now.

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She said: "Despite a downward trend in smoking between 1985 and 1995, there now appears to be an increase in smoking rates. My concern is that as a community we may reap the consequences of this trend in higher rates of lung cancer among young women in years to come."

The report revealed that compared to the rest of the UK, people in West Suffolk are relatively healthy. Life expectancy is 76.6 years for men and 80.9 years for women. In the census undertaken in 2001, 71% of respondents rated their health as good, 21% as fair and 7% as bad, which compares well with the national average.

But men in west Suffolk had a higher mortality rate from accidents than the national average. Between 1999 and 2001, 90 men died from accidents, a death rate 25.9%, compared to the UK average of 21.8%.

Dr Frankenberg added: "The high rate of male deaths through accidents in west Suffolk is a cause for concern. Women a far less likely to die in an accident."

"At Suffolk West Primary Care Trust we are working with our partners in the local authorities to help identify ways that we can reduce the number of accidents. Road safety, healthy homes and falls prevention are three areas that we are focusing upon."

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