A 'fashion' fraught with peril

Choice matters

Burning butts dangling between those shapely lips or being held between slender fingers have a different meaning altogether.

Once they were symbols of the collapse of another male bastion. In fact, they continue to be so among the fairly large number of women who have taken to it, notwithstanding the general notion smoking invites.

Metrolife interacted with a few women smokers across the City and found out that although they started reluctantly, they soon got hooked on to it as it not only elevated their status but made them draw eyeballs. Slowly, they found that it boosted their confidence. Never mind all the side-effects.
Roopa Rao, working in a management company, began smoking as early as 16 years. It was less out of pressure and more out of curiosity that she began smoking.
“I used to smoke only when I drank with a select group of friends. Soon, it reduced my stamina, my skin began to get discoloured so I did quit smoking for a while but got back only to go slow once again,” she says.

“The loaded glances and stares did make me a little uncomfortable in the beginning but I soon overcame that,” she adds.
Seema Khan, another techie in the City, argues that a cigar between her fingers gives her a sense of superiority and a high.

“If I ever quit smoking, that would be only for health reasons and not fearing the society at large,” she says.

Radhika and her husband smoke. What was born out of a mere experiment turned out to be an addiction for Radhika, who says she cannot go to the restroom without a puff in the morning.
She avoids smoking in public and would rather keep it low key. “I smoke close to eight cigarettes a day but maybe I will quit once we decide to have a child. I will quit only for health reasons and otherwise I see no reason why women shouldn’t smoke?” she argues.

But medical experts say smoking is just another addiction and those who take to it voluntarily will have to kick the butt, inevitably, given the hazards that come along.

Mahesh Kumar, a medical expert with a de-addiction centre in the City says, “Even though the percentage of women smokers isn’t that high, the number is huge. In addition to all the harm that tobacco causes to men, women are additionally exposed in a special way because of their reproductive function.”

He further points out that tobacco consumption reduces birth weight of the foetus, increases the risk of still births and heightened chances of anaemia among pregnant women.

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