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                                     Ladies and gentlemen say 'no' to this toxic empowerment. 

We had a discussion on reforms recently. During the process some people expressed the opinion that  women should not be judged as persons with loose morals because they drink or smoke or do drugs. When men can enjoy smoking and drinking, so could women. 

'When women scientists of ISRO could be cheered for competing with men and proving themselves equal to men in mind matters', they opined,  ' drinking and smoking women should also be cheered because they broke the barriers and got empowered!" They also added that criticising the latter is toxic patriarchy!

Loud applauds all around. 

Right. Equal rights? Yes. As a woman, I am game for equal rights and opportunities. 

But my scientifically inclined mind started viewing a different picture. Because I read hundreds of research papers on the effects of smoking and drinking on people especially growing fetuses.  My mind started screaming. 

Saree-clad ISRO scientists ‘re cheered, because they proved their mental abilities are not in any way lesser than those of men ( people who cheer me told me this ). Women enjoying drinks ( and are also driving under its influence), are choosing highly irresponsible ways to prove they are equal to men.

You can compete with men, I do most of the time, but I can never drink because as a person of science I know how harmful drinking is to a person’s health. That is putting yourself at risk to prove yourself. Not a good idea.

Every body has his or her own right to do anything he or she wants to. I agree. But, that right should not cause harm to others or hurt anybody. That is why smoking is banned in public places in several countries. That is why you are not allowed to smoke in public places. It is also illegal to cause harm to others. That is why You are not allowed to drink and drive or fly a plane or handle heavy machinery, when drunk.
The moment  I think something  is causing some harm, I take out my weapons and start fighting. That' s what I exactly did there. 

It is none of my business if an adult person smokes or drinks despite knowing fully well that can harm him or her. But still I try to educate people on harmful effects of smoking and drinking. 

We don’t judge, we only try to understand. Read here what I wrote on it: The science of judgement

If your addiction or enjoyment is causing harm to others, I am not bothered about morals but I am very much bothered about the health of the people and well being of our societies especially children. I don’t see drinking or smoking as a moral issue or a character issue. It is a health issue for me.

But when I tried to put forward my view point, I mostly got severe beating! But still I am going forward and write on this. All that criticism I faced cannot stop me from warning men and women on this.  Reformers don't cave in during adverse conditions or when they get adverse reactions. 

Smoking and drinking are hazardous for anybody - both for men and women. But for  women  who are pregnant, the danger doubles. A pregnant lady is not only destroying her health but also that of her fetus if she smokes and drinks or do drugs.

Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of health problems for developing babies, including preterm birth, low birth weight, and birth defects of the mouth and lip. Smoking during and after pregnancy also increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Additionally, e-cigarettes and other tobacco products containing nicotine (the addictive drug found in tobacco) are not safe to use during pregnancy. Nicotine is a health danger for pregnant women and developing babies and can damage a developing baby’s brain and lungs. Also, some of the flavorings used in e-cigarettes may be harmful to a developing baby. 
Quitting tobacco can be hard, but it is possible. Quitting smoking is one of the most important ways you can protect your health and the health of your baby. Quitting early or before pregnancy is best, but it’s never too late to quit smoking. 

Alcohol: There is no known safe amount of alcohol use during pregnancy or while trying to get pregnant. There is also no safe time during pregnancy to drink. All types of alcohol are equally harmful, including all wines and beer. If a woman is drinking alcohol during pregnancy, it is never too late to stop. Alcohol can cause problems for the developing baby throughout pregnancy, including before a woman knows she is pregnant.

Drinking alcohol in the first three months of pregnancy can cause the baby to have abnormal facial features. Growth and central nervous system problems (e.g., low birthweight, behavioural problems) can occur from drinking alcohol anytime during pregnancy. The baby’s brain is developing throughout pregnancy and can be affected by exposure to alcohol at any time.If a woman is drinking alcohol during pregnancy, it is never too late to stop. The sooner a woman stops drinking, the better it will be for both her baby and herself.

 Alcohol in the mother’s blood passes to the baby through the umbilical cord. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and a range of lifelong physical, behavioural, and intellectual disabilities. These disabilities are known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs).

FASDs refer to the whole range of effects that can happen to a person whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. These conditions can affect each person in different ways, and can range from mild to severe.
A person with an FASD might have: Abnormal facial features, such as a smooth ridge between the nose and upper lip (this ridge is called the philtrum), small head size, shorter-than-average height, low body weight, poor coordination, hyperactive behaviour, difficulty with attention, poor memory, difficulty in learning (especially with math), learning disabilities, speech and language delays, intellectual disability or low IQ, poor reasoning and judgment skills, sleep and sucking problems as a baby, vision or hearing problems, problems with the heart, kidneys, or bones.
FASD Types of FASDs Different terms are used to describe FASDs, depending on the type of symptoms.Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS): FAS represents the most involved end of the FASD spectrum. Fetal death is the most extreme outcome from drinking alcohol during pregnancy. People with FAS might have abnormal facial features, growth problems, and central nervous system (CNS) problems. People with FAS can have problems with learning, memory, attention span, communication, vision, or hearing. They might have a mix of these problems. People with FAS often have a hard time in school and trouble getting along with others.

Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder (ARND): People with ARND might have intellectual disabilities and problems with behaviour and learning. They might do poorly in school and have difficulties with math, memory, attention, judgment, and poor impulse control.

Alcohol-Related Birth Defects (ARBD): People with ARBD might have problems with the heart, kidneys, or bones or with hearing. They might have a mix of these.
Neurobehavioral Disorder Associated with Prenatal Alcohol Exposure (ND-PAE): ND-PAE was first included as a recognized condition in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 5 (DSM 5) of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in 2013. A child or youth with ND-PAE will have problems in three areas: thinking and memory, where the child may have trouble planning or may forget material he or she has already learned, behavior problems, such as severe tantrums, mood issues (for example, irritability), and difficulty shifting attention from one task to another, and trouble with day-to-day living, which can include problems with bathing, dressing for the weather, and playing with other children. In addition, to be diagnosed with ND-PAE, the mother of the child must have consumed more than minimal levels of alcohol before the child’s birth, which APA defines as more than 13 alcoholic drinks per month of pregnancy (that is, any 30-day period of pregnancy) or more than 2 alcoholic drinks in one sitting.

Research also  suggests that breast-fed babies who are exposed to one drink a day might have impaired motor development and that alcohol can cause changes in sleep patterns. Studies show that alcohol actually decreases milk production and that the presence of alcohol in breast milk causes babies to drink about 20 percent less breast milk.

Drunk moms might harm or hurt the baby if they drink heavily as they become unaware of the baby's presence. Mothers also become insensitive to a baby's cry in such situations and wilfully hurt them as these cries can irritate them easily.

Marijuana use during pregnancy can be harmful to your baby’s health. The chemicals in marijuana (in particular, tetrahydrocannabinol or THC) pass through your system to your baby and can harm your baby’s development  
Some research shows that using marijuana while you are pregnant can cause health problems in newborns— including low birth weight.Breathing marijuana smoke can also be bad for you and your baby. Marijuana smoke has many of the same chemicals as tobacco smoke and may increase the chances for developmental problems in your baby. Some research shows marijuana use during pregnancy may make it hard for your child to pay attention or to learn; these issues may only become noticeable as your child grows older. Separate from the direct, chemical effects of marijuana on a baby, use of marijuana may affect a mother’s ability to be able to properly care for her.

Yes, some beliefs and behaviours are ‘unacceptable’ in a civilized society. Only because they harm others around. This unacceptability is not ‘judgemental’ because they are ‘painful and harmful’.

If a woman drinks and smokes it would be better for her not to have children at all until she quits what she ‘s doing because a smoking and drinking woman causes more harm to her children, than her partner who drinks and smokes because she has to carry her children in her body as a part of her body for nine months and then feed them for a few more months. I can show you hundreds of research papers as evidence.

Telling women not to drink or smoke if they want to have babies is not showing double standards. It is having concern for the children and the welfare of the societies we live in. Don't interpret it wrongly or twist the words to vilify others.

Reforms are for the betterment of the society - those include health issues too, not only moral issues. Get that right first.

You can read here the effects of alcohol on a  human body: https://kkartlab.in/group/some-science/forum/topics/some-qs-people-...

and also read this article  to understand why alcohol effects women more than men: Why alcohol affects women more than men

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