Why It Can Be Harder for Women to Quit Smoking

Generally men tend to use tobacco products more than women. Some studies even suggest there are gender differences in attitudes towards smoking, with men being more compelled to take up the habit. Globally, this means that more than 37% of men smoke, while just over 8% of all women do. Interestingly, though, the latter are 31% less likely to quit smoking successfully. It is also worth noting that the National Institute on Drug Abuse determines that women are more prone to relapsing. With this in mind, read on to know more about the key reasons why women find it harder to quit smoking:

Why It Can Be Harder for Women to Quit Smoking

Body image control

Smokers all have their own reasons for smoking–some do it to regulate their stress and anxiety, while some engage in smoking as a social habit. Additionally, there are some who engage in smoking to gain control over their body image issues since cigarettes can suppress appetite. As such, reports from the Women’s Health Research Institute state that many women even turn to cigarettes as a form of weight management.

Given that lots of women experience intense scrutiny for their appearance, this is also one of the main reasons why many who smoke hesitate to quit. After all, despite the many benefits that smoking cessation brings, it is normal to gain up to 10 pounds after quitting. Additionally, since food becomes an alternative for some who cease to smoke, some women may feel compelled to just take up smoking again, lest they begin to overeat.

Nicotine lingers longer for women

After smoking a cigarette, nicotine and its other by-products can stay in a person’s body for around ten days. The more often a person smokes, the more nicotine clings to the body. As a result, one of the reasons why it is difficult to quit smoking is because of  how long nicotine lingers in the system. Regardless of how nicotine enters the system, it eventually gets broken down into several components and spreads to the rest of the body. This is why when testing for nicotine, labs can get accurate readings even from samples as varied as urine, saliva, or hair. For women, nicotine tends to linger longer in their bodies since smoking has an estrogen-blocking effect.

Estrogen is a female hormone concerned with reproductive health, though it also affects brain function, blood circulation, and other vital body functions. Since estrogen production is compromised, women’s bodies may have difficulty breaking down the nicotine present in their bodies. This can also cause relapses since the lingering nicotine is not flushed out of the body efficiently.

Stronger withdrawal symptoms

Researchers at the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health found that women are prone to relapsing on the first day of smoking cessation when compared with men. The failure to abstain from smoking on day one of quitting can indicate a reaction to withdrawal symptoms. Across the board, withdrawal symptoms are some of the biggest obstacles to long-term cessation. The most common withdrawal symptoms include moodiness, fatigue, and headaches, amongst others. Given that plenty of women smoke for social reasons, the inconvenience of these symptoms makes a relapse seem like the lesser of evils.

Now, while quitting can be a challenge for women, as outlined above, it is not impossible.

How can women quit smoking successfully?

Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) is a method commonly employed to aid individuals in quitting smoking by providing them with controlled doses of nicotine without the harmful toxins found in tobacco smoke.
NRT works by delivering nicotine to the body through various forms, such as nicotine gum, patches, lozenges, nasal sprays, and inhalers.

The idea is to gradually reduce the nicotine intake over time, helping to alleviate withdrawal symptoms and cravings while breaking the psychological association between smoking and certain situations.

Engaging in nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is one way to start going smoke-free. Some examples of NRT are nicotine gum and nicotine pouches, which are available in a variety of flavors. These help smokers comfortably wean off of cigarettes while keeping withdrawal symptoms at bay.

It is particularly relevant for women who are trying to quit smoking due to its potential benefits and considerations tailored to their unique physiological and behavioral factors.

Another way to make cessation stick is by recognizing the reasons for smoking and creating solutions around the problem. If smoking is done in response to stress, build a habit of journaling or meditating to avoid touching tobacco altogether. If it’s a weight concern, then it would be better to work on eating healthy and staying physically active.

Giving up smoking is not an easy feat. The different social and health factors surrounding women’s reasons for smoking makes it difficult to fault them for having an unhealthy habit. However, understanding how smoking affects the mind and body definitely helps in determining the most effective way to leave smoking behind for good.

Premature Aging: 4 Signs and Remedies

According to medical experts, obvious aging usually begins at age 25. At this point, the body starts producing less collagen, and hormones fluctuate more often. This is why many people notice physical changes like less skin elasticity, weight changes, and more. Thankfully, this process is usually gradual, and effects are subtle over the years.

That said, for some, the signs of aging can manifest earlier and more obviously. This is called premature aging. Although premature aging can look different for everyone, here are some of the most common signs and their possible treatments:

Premature Aging - 4 signs and remedies

1. Sun Spots

Also called age or liver spots, sun spots look like large flat freckles on the skin. The color of these depends on the person’s complexion, but they range from light to dark brown. This is considered a form of hyper-pigmentation brought on by years of sun exposure. The most damaging rays from the sun are the Ultra violet rays (UV) which can cause skin cancer for the susceptible individuals. Ultra violet radiation has different components falling under the spectrum depending upon their wave lengths.  The long wavelength UVA falling between 315 nm and 400 nm penetrate our skins, glass and clouds and perhaps responsible for causing cancer.

UVB rays have wavelengths between 280 nm and 315 nm and can cause skin aging to skin cancer. To prevent sun spots from appearing or from multiplying, the best practice is to wear sunscreen. Among the thousands of options available, the best sunscreens are those that offer board spectrum SPF protection. This way, they can block both harmful UVA and UVB rays. Just make sure to use one with at least SPF 15 and to reapply every two hours. This protects your skin from blistering, hyper-pigmentation, and skin cancers.

2. Thinning Hair

As we age, our hair follicles naturally become more prone to breakage. This results in thinner hair that causes receding hairlines and sparser lashes and brows. While your genetics also play a role in the thickness or thinness of your body hair, there are ways to help keep them fuller for longer. For the eyelashes and eyebrows, try incorporating a hair conditioning serum. Ideally, you can use a lash serum with nurturing ingredients like keratin to fortify hair. This makes them less brittle, therefore helping create longer and stronger hairs. Meanwhile, on your head, try using shampoos with amino acids. With regular use, your scalp health will improve and generate more hair.

3. Crow’s Feet

Among the first wrinkles you may see are crow’s feet. These are fine lines that occur on the sensitive skin around the eye area. The Crow’s feet are wrinkles mostly appearing in parallel around the edges of both eyes on the facial skin.  Frequent sun exposure, smoking, and squinting can cause this to present itself earlier. To treat this, add a moisturizing eye cream to your skincare. Because you want to address any dryness around the eye, look for creams that have nourishing oils like castor, almond, or avocado. These are all rich moisturizers that can soothe the skin and help keep the delicate area looking more youthful. If you can, look for Vitamin C in your products, too. This brightening ingredient helps banish dark circles which often accompany the fine lines around the eye.

4. Gaunt Hands

It’s often said that aging first shows on the neck and face, but it can also show on your hands. During the aging process, the skin on the hands gets thinner and less full. This causes wrinkles and veins to be more obvious. Although there is no way to truly retain the fats that keep younger hands from looking too thin, you can treat them to avoid emphasizing a bony look. One easy way to do this is with a high-quality hand moisturizer for beautiful hands. During hotter seasons, you can use a lightweight option, then you can switch to a richer version when it gets colder. Moisturizers like those with Shea butter are especially effective at keeping the skin soft and supple. Try to moisturize thrice a day for the best results.

It can be frightening when signs of aging present themselves sooner than you hoped. But premature aging doesn’t have to be a scary or sad experience. There are many over-the-counter remedies you can use, plus plenty of specialists who can help you through the process. Remember, aging is a natural part of life anyway. With a positive attitude and the right self-care regimen, you can age gracefully and happily.

Internet Safety Tips for Everyone

Safety in information Highway – the Internet is critical for safe passage while you are there. The information you provide willingly or otherwise can and may be used against you. The following is part of the series on ‘Internet Safety Tips for Everyone’ articles in TargetWoman.

Privacy Issues: GDPR – the General Data Protection Regulation is a global data protection law passed by the European Union that shifts the ownership of customer data from the entities that use it to the individual customer.
What this means is any data that can be used to identify an individual – be it genetic, psychological, cultural, religious or socio – economic – they all now come under the GDPR umbrella. Every site will now need to set clearly in their privacy page – how the information is collected and how the data will be used – to how long this set of data will be stored. As per this regulation, the customer has the right to withdraw the consent whereupon within a reasonable time frame, the company has to remove all traces of the data collected from the particular customer from their records.

Internet Safety Tips for Everyone

Google as the single largest online entity tracks quite a bit of information about the sites you visited through their searches, places you visited and Videos you have seen over a long time frame. Google’s location History can pinpoint where you have been through your Android Mobile phone’s GPS receiver and cell tower triangulation. This is not all. Your Mobile Phone may run background location services can use wifi positioning in its quest to accurately locate your position.

Remember the cardinal rule in computers – unless you absolutely need it, don’t run it. This rule applies to all software, services and apps. Unless you absolutely need the location services, turn it off. If you need the location services occasionally, you can decide which app needs that. Many apps require GPS receiver to provide the location data or source it from Cell towers wifi Access Points. For example, your IPhone’s built in Compass will not work without the location services. In IPhones, go to Settings – > Privacy -> Location Services and scroll through the list of apps which require the location services. Find IPhone, Google Maps, Maps, Uber and Weather are some of the apps which require your location to work. You can allow them by selecting the option :’while using’.

In Android Phones – the drill is similar. Go to Settings – the gearwheel icon – > Scroll down to the Location Settings -> Location History On and toggle the switch off. Whilst at it you can purge all your history by selecting ‘Delete all Location History’ .

Remember many services in apps may require your location services to work properly. You can’t call Uber cab unless the app knows where you are. But at the same time, there is no need for the app to constantly ping your location to their servers. Most apps will happily work with location services made available when they are open. There may be exceptions like Zus Smart Car Locator which requires that the location services are enabled all the time for it. If you turn off the location services for most apps, your Phone battery will retain its charge for longer duration. GPS receivers are power hogs.

Privacy Settings:

We start with Google – probably the most dominant Online player in the World. Go to Google’s Privacy Page here:

Google Privacy Settings
You will find lots of options with slide buttons to enable/disable. At the moment they show the following:

Under Activity Controls:
Privacy Options

Web & App Activity – Slide Button : Saves your activity on Google sites and apps to give you faster searches, better recommendations, and more personalized experiences in Maps, Search, and other Google services.

Location History – Slide Button: Saves where you go with your devices to give you personalized maps, recommendations based on places you’ve visited, and more.

Device Information – Slide Button:
Stores info about your contacts, calendars, apps, and other device data to improve your experience across Google services.

Voice & Audio Activity – Slide Button: Records your voice and audio on Google services to improve speech recognition, like when you say “Ok Google” to do a voice search.

YouTube Search History – Slide Button: Saves your searches on YouTube to make your future searches faster and improve your recommendations.

YouTube Watch History – Slide Button:
Makes it easier to find YouTube videos you’ve watched and improve your recommendations in YouTube and other Google services.

Check all entries and delete entries you don’t want there. If you ask me, purge all of them and block them in the first place.

If you are one of those with high risk online behavior, your personal data can easily be compromised. What is worse, your computer can end up running backdoor processes that can ‘call home’ – sending sensitive information to any hacker. As part of my job of securing computers, I had to format the drives and install Operating System (OS) afresh in compromised computers. We managed to save time and effort by creating System images after installing all the software required for the staff and saving it elsewhere. Every month, we formatted the hard disk and restored the system from the saved system image.

If you have a high risk online behavior, you should try Sandboxie – a software that runs browsers like Firefox Portable version within its Sandboxed environment – thus protecting you from malicious software, some viruses, ramsomware and zero day threats. Purge the version of portable browsers often as a precaution.

Never – Ever use public Wifi to log on to sensitive sites – your bank accounts, official emails and your social Networking sites. The man-in-the-middle attack is lesser with most sites opting for the HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure from the common HTTP (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol). The communication between your browser and the target Server is encrypted using TLS (Transport Layer Security) or the earlier SSL ( Secure Sockets Layer). Check the Green Lock icon in the address bar of your browser. If you want to be doubly sure that your site is what it really claims – click on the Green lock and the digital certificate authority will have identified the domain name of the site. Banks and sites collecting financial information will have extended SSL certificates – identifying the site in the address bar itself next to the Green Lock. Always check for the Green Lock before you type any sensitive information.

Remember the adage of the Latin Poet Phaedrus – ‘Things are not always what they seem‘ in all things online. Do Not click on links from mails and messages from any one. Type the site address directly on the browser. It is just too easy to cook up a link purportedly targeted at a genuine site but in reality pointing to a nefarious site.



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