Gender, women and health

Gender and tobacco with an emphasis on marketing to women: World No Tobacco Day 2010

The theme of this year's World No Tobacco Day, to take place on 31 May 2010, is "Gender and tobacco with an emphasis on marketing to women".

Tobacco use is arguably the gender-linked behaviour with greatest public health significance. Women comprise about 20% of the world's more than 1 billion smokers. Hence, they are a major target of opportunity for the tobacco industry, which needs to recruit new users to replace the nearly half of current users who will die prematurely from tobacco-related diseases.

The negative impacts of the tobacco epidemic vary frequently by sex, due to both biological differences and the social roles held by men and women across the life-course. Yet, while scientific evidence has shed increasing light on the demographic factors associated with uptake, maintenance and cessation of tobacco, gender too often remains invisible at each stage.

World No Tobacco Day 2010 is recognition of the need to vigorously address tobacco advertising targeted to women and girls, and ensure that considerations of gender are part of any comprehensive tobacco control strategy.

Event links

World No Tobacco Day 2010 at WHO Regional Offices

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