Women & Tobacco

Question of the Month

May 2002

This month we're going to focus on how the tobacco industry targets women around the world and what we can do about it.

The tobacco industry has aggressively promoted smoking as a symbol of "female emancipation" around the world. But there is little "freedom" in emphysema, lung cancer, and dying young. In the U.S. alone, the tobacco industry kills 140,000 women annually. Lung cancer is the most fatal type of cancer among U.S. women, killing an estimated 70,000 each year (compared to 41,000 breast cancer deaths).

It is precisely because smoking rates among women are low in many countries, that the tobacco industry is so intent on targeting women. They represent the industry's best "hope" for exponentially expanding profits worldwide.

The tobacco industry is in the middle of a massive campaign to globalize smoking among women. We need to globalize the resistance!

Question: How does the tobacco industry specifically target women and girls in your state/country and what is your group doing about it?

We are interested in all ways that you have noticed that the tobacco industry targets women, e.g. "female" cigarette brands, "female emancipation" themes in billboard ads and movies, sponsorship of female artists, promotional items that are appealing to women, etc. Please provide a detailed description and photos, if available.

We are also interested in the multiple ways that the tobacco industry is trying to silence the opposition, e.g. by making financial contributions to women's organizations or female politicians, etc.

Lastly, we would love to hear how you are both involving and targeting women in your campaigns and/or using the issue of gender to further strong tobacco control legislation and policies.