Australia - NSW - young women binge smoking..

July 29, 2009 - Young women are behind an alarming new trend labeled "binge smoking" which is causing grave concerns for health experts. Similar to binge drinking, the practice involves the consumption of a large number of cigarettes over the course of a few hours, then not smoking for days.

Figures released by the New South Wales (NSW) Cancer Institute reveal that 65 percent of smokers aged between 18 and 24 are binge smoking. There are 1.2 million smokers in NSW (total population: 6,889,100).

Anita Dessaix, cancer prevention manager: "Any smoking is unsafe - even just one cigarette, but coupled with alcohol we know that it increases the risk of cancers such as the oesophagus and head and neck."

The new phenomenon is being led by young people who binge out on nicotine once or twice a week, but do not otherwise smoke. More than 50 per cent of female smokers, aged between 18 and 39, binge compared to men, who are more likely to smoke the same amount each day.

"This survey provides us with a better understanding of the behaviour of smokers," Ms Dessaix said. "What particular situations induce people to smoke more. We know that people will smoke more if they are in social situations, with alcohol or there are other smokers around."

The high amount of nicotine getting into the bloodstream causes a greater impact on the lungs and heart. Binge smokers are also placing their bodies under extra stress as they regularly will suffer withdrawal symptoms. Within 12 hours of the last cigarette, the carbon monoxide in the blood reduces dramatically.

After two weeks, lung function and circulation has improved. A binge smoker will go through this process constantly.


Reference: Nicotine bingeing (binging) endangers health by Kate Sikora, Health Reporter, The Daily Telegraph, 7/27/2009.