Monthly Letters to Pulmonary Patients by Thomas L. Petty

Thomas L. Petty, M.D.

Professor of Medicine, 
University of Colorado

Chairman, National Lung Health Education Program (NLHEP)

 











National Lung Health Education Program
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WOMEN ARE NOW MORE EQUAL THAN MEN

September  2002
Second Wind
Lomita, California

Dear Friends:

The theme of this month's newsletter comes from an editorial, soon to appear in Respiratory Care Journal, that accompanies an important report from the Center for Disease Control. Recently, this Center reported an alarming increase in death rates from COPD in both women and men. But, the astonishing fact is that, in the year 2000, more women than men died of COPD (59,936 vs 59,118). Thus indeed "you've come a long way baby . . ." has been achieved, citing an oft repeated advertising campaign of the relentless tobacco industry.

Recent studies indicate that women who smoke are more susceptible to the harmful effects of tobacco than men. If women are going to develop COPD as one in five smokers do, COPD will occur at an earlier age and with less duration and intensity of smoking. Why women are more susceptible to tobacco than men is not known. It has been established that women have a greater tendency to develop bronchospasm following provocation than men.

Today the tobacco industry continues to pitch its seductive campaign at women more than men. Why is the tobacco industry stalking women? The answer is simple - they are looking for more customers (victims) to expand the sales of tobacco, even though their own internal documents recognize the addictive nature and life-threatening effects of smoking.

Although equality should be the goal in most human enterprises, equality in disease and suffering is no achievement.

I'll be in touch next month.

Your friend,

      
       Thomas L. Petty, MD

Last update:
26 October 2002