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Sexually Abused Women More Likely to Smoke

Women who were sexually abused as children are much more likely to be current smokers than women who weren't abused as children. That's a key finding of a preliminary study on possible connections between sexual abuse and smoking -- a topic that has been largely overlooked in medical research. Researhers from the Mayo Clinic found that:

  • Women who were sexually abused as children were 3.8 times more likely to be current smokers than women who didn't report abuse. Childhood sexual abuse was defined as sexual fondling, attempted rape or rape before age 14.
  • Women who were sexually abused as children were twice as likely as those not abused to have ever smoked cigarettes.
  • Women reporting childhood sexual abuse were 2.1 times more likely than women not reporting abuse to start smoking by age 14.

Addictive Behavior February 2004;29(2):245-5

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