Risk Factors for Tobacco Smoking among Black Women

To recognise and control smoking is the key to preventing lung cancer, cardiovascular and other respiratory diseases. One of the single largest preventable cause of premature death and illness in England, smoking is a risk factor for diseases such as chronic obstructive disease (COPD) and it accounts for 16% of hospital costs to treat lung cancer and cardiovascular disease (Cancer Research UK, 2009). The poorer in society are damaged by it. Smoking affects 80,000 lives per year with an estimated cost of £2.7 billion each year to treat disease associated with it. This demonstrates that smoking is a worrying financial burden on the NHS and a huge public health issue that needs to be addressed (DOH, 2010; Hscic, 2014). Black African women has lower prevalence of smoking hence, there is a causation of Cardio Vascular Disease (CVD) in smoking cigarettes among Black African women (Rahmanian et al., 2011).

Previous studies concerning smoking risk factors in Black African Women, severally concentrates on physiological risk factors, omitting to recognise that some other major risk factors (coping, stress and depression) have shown a huge contribution to poor health. Smoking behaviour is the combination of socio-economic disadvantage in childhood which results in the development of regular smoking in youth and the persistence of it into adulthood as a result of poverty (Brunner & Mamot, 2001). Action on Smoking & Health (ASH 2001) have highlighted the level of poor knowledge from the ethnic minority group when compared to people from other backgrounds in terms of inability to perceive smoking as a health risk. The large common risk factors for tobacco smoking are lung cancers (mouth, lips, throat, oesophagus, bladder, kidney, stomach and pancreas). Smoking damages the heart and the blood vessel and gives health conditions, such as bronchitis that is the main airway injection, emphysema the damage to the airway and pneumonia the lung inflammation (NHS, 2013).

Risk Factors for Tobacco Smoking in Black African Women

Difference in race among Black African women and the people from other ethnic backgrounds, show there is education level and socio-economic status play key role among women of Black African cigarette uptake. Black African women work side by side with their husbands. They have an active lifestyle, lack of knowledge and low level of education, poor awareness of health promotion programmes, all results in their uptake of cigarette smoking. They rarely seek health services, especially when it comes to the diagnosis of life threatening diseases such as cancer and hypertension. Vital to this was the report by Leenen et al. (2008) stating that the prevalence of hypertension was higher in black African women when compared to the east Asian population. It was also found that hypertension was 49.8% higher in black African women between 40-50 and 13.7% among the East Asian population. Black African cultural lifestyle is different from other ethnic background lifestyle so is their health experiences. Part of their culture is the belief that women look after their husband, children their parents and even grandparents, even if the woman is having health problems. This shows that women are responsible for their immediate family and also their extended family, putting pressure on them to engage in health damaging behaviour such as tobacco smoking. The influences of their ageing parents and household work cause depression and psychological stress in this minority group. Socioeconomics and disparities are also added to the psychological problems encountered, leading to them being victims of cigarette consumption (Punyahotre, Dennerstein & Lehert, 1997).