The American Lung Association joins the World Health Organization (WHO) to observe World No Tobacco Day on Monday, May 31, to bring attention to the global epidemic of tobacco use among women, and the harmful effects of tobacco industry marketing targeting women and girls.
Tobacco use takes an enormous toll on women with more than 170,000 American women dying each year from smoking-caused disease. Recent public health data show lung cancer death rates for some women are still rising at a time when death rates for other kinds of cancer in women are declining. In addition, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema, now kills more women than men.
“The tobacco industry has a long and shameful history of targeting women and children,” said Mary H. Partridge, National Board Chair of the American Lung Association. “The most recent example is R.J. Reynolds’ Camel No. 9 cigarettes, a pink-hued version that one newspaper dubbed ‘Barbie Camel’ because of marketing that appealed to girls. Advertised as ‘available in stiletto’ with promotional giveaways of flavored lip glosses and pink purses, it seems clear who R.J. Reynolds was targeting.”
Tobacco companies have also geared marketing of “light” and “low-tar” cigarettes to women, who are more likely to be concerned about the health risks of smoking. Tobacco companies have long known from their own research that these cigarettes are no less harmful than regular cigarettes.
“Quitting smoking is the single most important thing that most individuals can do to improve their health and World No Tobacco Day is a great day for all to stop using tobacco products,” added Partridge. The American Lung Association commemorates World No Tobacco Day by urging all women who smoke to quit and helping more Americans quit smoking remains a top public health priority for the Lung Association. Freedom From Smoking© Online is a successful, self-paced program that’s available 24 hours a day, and provides the tools and support that can help women and men quit for good.
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