A World Health Organization (WHO) report - “Women and Health: Today’s Evidence, Tomorrow’s Agenda” - shows that the number of female smokers is fast increasing.
Recognizing the importance of doing away with women’s and girls’ addiction to smoking, WHO selected “Gender and tobacco with an emphasis on marketing to women” as the theme for this year’s World No Tobacco Day, May 31, 2010.
Cigarette companies are constantly and aggressively advertising to attract new smokers to replace the ones who quit and the active smokers, up to half of, who will die prematurely from cancer, heart attack, stroke, emphysema or other tobacco-related diseases.
Women are primarily the new targets for the tobacco industry. WHO data collected from 151 countries shows that about 7 per cent of adolescent girls smoke, as opposed to 12 per cent of adolescent boys. With women, the industry simply has more potential to expand its market.
As we observe the World No Tobacco Day, lets us not only recognize the importance of fighting smoking among women, but also make men more aware of their responsibility to avoid smoking around the women and children in their lives and workplace.
As WHO Director-General Margaret Chan wrote in the report, “protecting and promoting the health of women is crucial to health and development – not only for the citizens of today but also for those of future generations”.