The health consequences of smoking for young women could occur much sooner than they think, according to a new Australian study.
The study, of almost 15,000 women aged between 18-23, found smokers are more likely to experience premenstrual tension, heavy periods, severe period pain and irregular periods.
Quit Executive Manager Suzie Stillman says she hopes the study's findings will encourage more young women to quit.
'These findings are very significant, as they show young women are experiencing the negative health effects of smoking very quickly. Alarmingly, those effects get worse the more women smoke, and the younger they start.'
'But the good news is the risks fall for ex-smokers, so this study's finding should be a great incentive for young women to quit.'
The study found women who smoke 20 cigarettes or more a day are 50% more likely to suffer from severe period pain and premenstrual tension, and 60% more likely to experience heavy periods.
'Hopefully this data will encourage young women to think about quitting, as smoking could be causing them much more discomfort than they realise.'
'This study adds to the growing body of evidence about the effects of smoking on women's reproductive health.'
'We now know smoking affects women through all the reproductive stages, from menstruation, to fertility, pregnancy and post natal.'
Smoking rates are highest for women between the ages of 16-34, with over 30% of women in this age bracket smoking. Smoking rates fall to about 25% for women over the age of 35.
The study Cigarette smoking, menstrual symptoms and miscarriage in young women was published in the latest issue of the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health. The authors were Gita Mishra from the University of Newcastle, Annette Dobson of the University of Queensland, and Margot Schofield from the University of New England.
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