26 May 2010
Global smoking rates amongst women are rising as the tobacco industry increasingly targets females through its marketing campaigns, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The WHO says that global rates of smoking amongst men have peaked, while rates amongst women are rising. Women are also a major target for the tobacco industry, which needs to recruit new users to replace smokers who will die prematurely (almost 50 per cent of current users) from tobacco-related diseases.
To combat these alarming figures, the WHO’s World No Tobacco Day 2010 (WNTD 2010) will focus on gender and tobacco, with an emphasis on marketing to women.
The day, 31 May 2010, aims to highlight the harmful effects of tobacco marketing towards women and girls. It will also highlight the need for the nearly 170 Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control to ban all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship in accordance with their constitutions or constitutional principles.
Besides the rising rates of smoking amongst women, increasing rates of smoking amongst teenage girls is particularly troubling.
WHO’s report Women and health: today’s evidence, tomorrow’s agenda says that tobacco advertising increasingly targets girls. Data from 151 countries show that about 7 per cent of adolescent girls smoke cigarettes as opposed to 12 per cent of adolescent boys. In some countries, almost as many girls smoke as boys.
The WHO Framework Convention also expresses alarm at "the increase in smoking and other forms of tobacco consumption by women and young girls worldwide".
Although WNTD 2010 will focus on women, it will also account for the need to protect males from the tobacco industry’s tactics.
How cigarette companies use feminine aspirations as bait by Shoba John FCA chair