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Ok, me and my boyfriend are thinking of having sex, so the next time I visit my mom, she said we would go to the clinic to get me on the pill. But I heard its bad if you smoke cigarettes while on the pill, is that true? What if you only smoke once in a while, is it still safe?

The best thing to do is stop smoking. We know that smokers over age 35 will have an increased risk of stroke and heart attack if they use the pill. But many health care providers prescribe the pill for women who smoke if they’re under 35. Their risks are not as great. It’s important to let your health care provider know that you’re a smoker if you’re considering going on the pill.

There are many reasons to quit smoking besides wanting to get on the pill. Here are a few:

  • Women who smoke die nearly seven years earlier than nonsmokers.
  • Smokers are four times as likely as nonsmokers to develop lung cancer — the number-one cause of cancer death for U.S. women.
  • Smokers are twice as likely as nonsmokers to develop cervical cancer.
  • Smokers have twice as much heart disease — those who smoke two packs or more a day have three times as much.
  • Smoking is also associated with cancers of the mouth, throat, pancreas, and bladder.
  • Smoking seems to stimulate the recurrence of genital warts.
  • Smoking is associated with early menopause.

Are you ready to quit yet? Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Try saving the money you would have spent on cigarettes to buy something special.
  • Exercise to release endorphins and distract yourself from cigarette cravings.
  • Socialize with nonsmokers.
  • Snack on low-calorie vegetables to keep your hands and mouth active.
  • Keep a list of reasons you want to quit and look at it every day.
  • Enlist your family and friends to help you.
  • Practice deep breathing and relaxation.
  • Chew sugarless gum.
  • Drink cold water.

And for more information and tips to kick your smoking habit for good, check out smokefree.gov.

Tags: birth control, drinking and smoking, the pill