Just about everyone knows the risk of lung cancer with smoking. But did you know that tattoo ink clearance is slower for smokers than for nonsmokers? A study performed in 2012, found that the chance of achieving removal after 10 laser sessions was decreased by 69.7% in smokers compared to nonsmokers. Why? Because smoking suppresses the capability of your immune cells, the macrophages, to eat up your tattoo ink and remove it from the body via your lymphatic system.
So, maximize your efforts in getting your tattoo removed: Keep your immune system healthy by not smoking.
And, if you need more convincing to not smoke, I’m going to share two other compelling reasons not to smoke that are gynecologic.
First, women who smoke are twice as likely to get cervical cancer. Tobacco byproducts have been found in the cervical mucus of women who smoke; the substances damage the DNA of the cervical cells and may contribute to the development of cervical cancer. Moreover, the causative agent of cervical cancer HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) sticks around as an infection in smokers longer than in nonsmokers.
Second, smoking has been linked to an earlier menopause. Research shows that smokers have twice the risk of experiencing hot flashes than nonsmokers. Additionally, a variation of five genes linked to estrogen metabolism have been identified in some women that leads to a susceptibility toward certain environmental toxins, including cigarette smoke. Women who have these gene variants have 21 times the risk of hot flashes than nonsmokers. Secondhand smoke is likely to contribute to the frequency and severity of hot flashes.
So, there you have it. Smoking is not doing you, nor your tattoo removal, nor your Pap smear, nor your hot flashes, any good. I know habits are hard to kick. If you are a woman, and want to quit, I have successfully prescribed Wellbutrin and Chantix for many of my gynecology patients. Call me for an appointment. 618-236-7555