Controlling the epidemic of tobacco among women is an important part of any comprehensive tobacco control strategy. World No Tobacco Day 2010 was designed to draw particular attention to the harmful effects of tobacco marketing towards women and girls. It also highlighted 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. Women comprise about 20% of the world’s more than one billion smokers. However, this figure is bound to increase. Male rates of smoking have peaked, while female rates are on the rise. Women are 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. Especially troubling is the rising prevalence of tobacco use among girls. The new WHO report, Women and health: today’s evidence, tomorrow’s agenda, points to evidence that tobacco advertising increasingly targets girls. Data from 151 countries show that about 7% of adolescent girls smoke cigarettes as opposed to 12% of adolescent boys. In some countries, almost as many girls smoke as boys.
World No Tobacco Day 2010 gave overdue recognition to the importance of controlling the epidemic of tobacco among women. As WHO Director-General Margaret Chan wrote in the aforementioned 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”. The WHO Framework Convention, which took effect in 2005, expresses alarm at “the increase in smoking and other forms of tobacco consumption by women and young girls worldwide”. It is therefore important that tobacco control policies recognise and take into account gender norms, differences and responses to tobacco in order to “reduce tobacco use and improve the health of men and women worldwide”. The WHO Framework Convention recognises “the need for gender-specific tobacco control strategies”, as well as for the “full participation of women at all levels of tobacco control policy making and implementation of tobacco control measures”.
On World No Tobacco Day 2010, and throughout the following year, WHO will encourage governments to pay particular attention to protecting women from the tobacco companies’ attempts to lure them into lifetimes of nicotine dependence. By responding to WHO’s call, governments can reduce the toll of fatal and crippling heart attacks, stroke, cancers and respiratory diseases that have become increasingly prevalent among women. Tobacco use could kill one billion people during this century. Recognising the importance of reducing tobacco use among women, and acting upon that recognition, would save many lives. Although the World No Tobacco Day 2010 campaign focused on tobacco marketing for women, it took into account the need to protect boys and men from tobacco companies’ tactics.
SOURCE- WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION, in the Neplasia Journal, January 2010
POSTED BY ALIFFZAHID
POSTED BY ALIFFZAHID