Byline: RICHARD SHEARS
WOMEN smokers are at greater risk than men of developing lung cancer - and need fewer cigarettes to bring on the disease, say researchers.
To add to their problem, women find it more difficult to give up the habit.
One study found that a woman who smoked the equivalent of a packet a day for 40 years had a cancer risk three times higher than a man smoking the same amount.
Steve Gourlay, who carried out worldwide research on behalf of the Australasian College of Physicians in conjunction with the National Heart Foundation, found that women in the western world were less likely to give up.
`There are other studies which found higher levels of cellular damage in the genes of female smokers,' he went on.
`This suggests that the same amount of smoking caused more harm to women than men, rather than that women simply had different smoking habits.'
Mr Gourlay's research also revealed that in Australia only 18 per cent of women who smoked more than 15 cigarettes a day gave up smoking, compared with 25 per cent of men.
Doctors have expressed concern in recent months about the number of teenage girls who have taken up smoking, although no studies have been conducted to find out the rate of increase.
DRINK AND DRUGS, A WAY OF LIFE AT 15
FOUR in ten youngsters have taken drugs by the time they are 16 and almost all have tried alcohol.
More than one teenager in ten is a regular user of cannabis, the most popular illegal drug, a survey has revealed.
`A very high proportion of teenagers have absorbed drug use into their interests along with music and fashion,' said Professor Martin Plant, director of Edinburgh University's Alcohol and Health Research Group.
`There is no sign that the steady rise in illicit drug use among teenagers since the Sixties is in any way being checked or slowing down. If anything, it has gained momentum.'
Drug use is highest in Scotland where almost 60 per cent of boys and half the girls have taken cannabis, compared with England's 42 per cent for boys and 38 per cent for girls. …