Most vulnerable victim of tobacco use and the key target of tobacco industry's aggressive marketing globally - the double trap of tobacco for women
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Independent Consultant, India
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A360
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Globally women face the problem of tobacco both as user and non-user. She face the greatest indirect burden including the health, economic and social cost of tobacco use by a family member while the tobacco industry continue to target women globally to increase their profits by recruiting more female tobacco users. This is increasingly complex with multiple products and multiple factors at play. Though in the developed countries tobacco use among females is declining, it is still very high and in places increasing among the low SES. In LMICS the gender gap is further narrowed while in some cases girls being ahead of boys.

The paper undertakes extensive review of available literature on girls and women with respect to tobacco. The information is reviewed for a gender analysis on prevalence, pattern and tobacco industry tactics for promoting tobacco use.

Women are exposed to tobacco smoke at home. They suffer greater impact when pregnant. In case of tobacco use by family women are the ones who bear the indirect cost of such tobacco use by family. On the other hand they are targeted by tobacco industry and lured to using tobacco at an early age. In societies where smoking by women has been considered a taboo for long, the number of girls and women smokers is increasing. They are also using all kinds of smokeless tobacco products easily available in such societies, especially in South East Asia.

Tobacco control efforts globally should become gender responsive. Policy makers should recognise the importance of taking into consideration the gender aspects of tobacco use. It is important to understand the social and health issues challenging girl´s and women´s both due to their own tobacco use and tobacco use by a family member. We need more female leaders in the fight against tobacco control globally.

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