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The “ Smoking Beauty ” (21 Jul 2004)


A survey conducted by the Chinese University of Hong Kong showed that there is no tendency of decline in the number of female smokers. In particular, the smoking rate of women between 15 and 30 is obviously higher than that of any other age groups.Natalie started to smoke at 13 and has already been addicted for 11 years. She continues to smoke because of her rebellious character. According to Dr. Christopher Leung of the Action on Smoking or Health (ASH), as women in Hong Kong are trying to have more autonomy, for them to smoke or not to smoke has become a tool of manifestation. In the beginning, Jan smoked because she wanted to establish an image of independence. At the time when she was first interviewed, she had just quitted smoking for a month. After two months, however, she smoked again due to excessive work pressure and the influence of friends.Natalie is aware of the bad effects of smoking but she frankly admits that she is hooked. She says that once she is pregnant, she will quit it. Nevertheless, Dr. Leung Kwok Yin of the Queen Mary Hospital pointed out that it would be too late for a woman to quit smoking when pregnant because the fetus might have already absorbed all the harmful substances from her. Apart from that, the mother might not be successful in getting away from the habit, Dr. Leung added. Take for example Anna. Three months in pregnancy, she can only cut down on the number of cigarettes although she wants to quit it completely.The survey of the ASH revealed that the successful rate of women quitting smoking is much lower than that of men. Ms Man is one of those who has repeatedly failed in quitting smoking. Whenever she is alone, she wants to smoke. Since her husband is also a smoker, it becomes more difficult for her to quit the habit. Her daughter is the only one to support her to quit it.Time will tell if Jan, Anna and Ms Man will eventually be successful in quitting smoking. For people like them, besides the problem of habitual craving, it is more important for them to ascertain what position cigarettes play in their lives. After quitting smoking, what will come to fill the empty place? This is perhaps where the crux lies.

Smoke Free Planet
Publish Date: 
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
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