Women smokers are at a greater risk than at any time in recent decades from lung cancer and other ailments linked to their tobacco use, according to a study.
The research in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) found a marked increase in deaths among female smokers from lung cancer, chronic obstructive lung disease and other health ailments.
The study of more than 2.2 million adults 55 years and older found that women who smoked in the 1960s had a 2.7 times higher risk of lung cancer than those who never smoked.
"But among present-day female smokers, that risk is 25.7 times higher when compared to non-smokers," the report said.
The researchers found that the increased risk from smoking has been significant enough to outweigh the effects of medical advances that that have lengthened the lives of the rest of the population over the past half-century.
The study was led by Michael Thun, a physician who recently retired as vice president emeritus of the American Cancer Society, He said it is worrisome that "the steep increase in risk among female smokers has continued for decades after the serious health risks from smoking were well established."