Smoking increases the risk of cardiovascular disease in several ways:
Smoking may result in lung diseases.
The damage caused by COPD is permanent. The disease cannot be cured, and can result in death. It is essential that the person seeks medical help to try to prevent progression of the disease.
The carcinogens in cigarette smoke also cause lung cancer. Almost all cases of lung cancer are caused by smoking – smaller numbers of cases are linked with air pollution and ionising radiation from radon gas, a radioactive element found in the environment in some parts of the country.
The vast majority of cases of lung cancer lead to death.
Note that the trend in the rate of developing lung cancer for women has been increasing, while in men it is decreasing. The main reason is because numbers of female smokers – unlike men – continued to increase in the 1950s and 1960s before starting to fall. Cancer may take some years to develop, so a fall in female rates of lung cancer is likely to occur later. Evidence also suggests that women are more susceptible to developing lung cancer.
For mothers who smoke during pregnancy:
When parents smoke, there is a greater risk of cot death – sudden infant death syndrome.
The bar chart shows that when mothers under the age of 20 smoke whilst pregnant, the birthweight of their babies is reduced.
Suggest two pieces of additional information that would need to be collected before drawing firm conclusions about the effect of mothers smoking on the birthweight of babies.