Smoking among women worldwide on the rise

Published on June 7th, 2010 11:05

The rate of smokers among women and teenage girls is growing, and consequently, the number of deaths caused by tobacco use is also expected to grow, as long as stricter anti-smoking policies are implemented, stated the World Health Organization.

Currently nearly 5 million people pass away each year across the world due to tobacco use and passive smoking, and that number could reach 8 million deaths annually by 2030, according to the latest WHO report revealed on the World No Tobacco day, observed worldwide on May 31st.

“The percentage is on the rise currently,” admits Samira Asma, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Global Tobacco Control Department. “Unless no measures are taken, the consequences will be dismal,” she added.

women smoking

The World No Tobacco Day was established in 1987 to attract public attention to tobacco consumption and severe health complications it results in. Tobacco consumption is not simply growing, but is on the huge rise among younger women and girls said the WHO report. Currently female smokers constitute nearly 20 percent of the world’s tobacco-consumers; however, these figures will be changed soon, as according to the WHO, tobacco industry is targeting women, attracting them to take up cigarettes.

The report states that tobacco companies have started to use the marketing strategies based on social liberalization of women and their growing economic value in order to entice women into smoking. Since there are no rigorous anti-smoking measures, this approach could be used even in the developing countries, leading to an increase in tobacco consumption and health complications related to tobacco.

The major tobacco companies spend thousand of millions of dollars each year to promote their products, especially among teenagers and women, alleged the WHO report. Cigarette smoking in the U.S. has stabilized at roughly 21 percent of the adult population, after years of decreasing. The most dramatic increases in tobacco use during the past years have been reported in low-income and developing nations, with only 26 of these countries prohibited tobacco advertisements and other tobacco control regulations.

The World Health Organization has been cooperating with the governments of the countries with highest percentage of smokers, and non-governmental foundations, and established a strategy, named MPOWER. According to the objectives of the strategy, it would control tobacco consumption, increase public awareness about the health risks related to tobacco use, offer medical assistance to the smokers who are willing to quit and promote implementation of anti-smoking policies, such as smoking bans, tax rise, etc.

The MPOWER program is already working in Brazil, where government has applied every effort to ban smoking in public places, including legendary beaches, and enforce these regulations.

The WHO report provided country-by-country percentage of smokers, which showed that the highest smoking rates are registered in Africa (with Lebanon home to 58.8% of smokers), Eastern Europe (led by Bulgaria with 40%) and Asian countries.

Madagascar is home to the lowest smoking number of smokers who account for only 0.1 percent of adult population.

By Kevin Lawson, Staff Writer. Copyright © 2010 All rights reserved.

Related tags: women smoking | lighting up cigarettes | smoking men | tobacco use | cigarette use

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