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PIA Press Release
2010/05/31

World No Tobacco Day 2010 draws attention to harmful effects of tobacco on women

Tacloban City (May 31) -- The celebration of World No Tobacco Day this May 31 draws particular attention to the harmful effects of tobacco marketing towards women and girls.

This design is highlighted in this year?s theme "Gender and Tobacco," with an emphasis on marketing to women.

Tobacco use is the second cause of death globally (after hypertension) and is currently responsible for killing 1 in 10 adults worldwide. It is an epidemic, the WHO says, but a preventable one.

Women comprise about 20% of the world's more than 1 billion smokers. However, the epidemic of tobacco use among women is increasing in some countries, including the Philippines.

Women are a major target of opportunity for the tobacco industry, which need to recruit new users since old users are dying prematurely from tobacco-related diseases.

Especially troubling is the rising prevalence of tobacco use among girls. A 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 7% of adolescent girls smoke cigarettes as opposed to 12% of adolescent boys. In some countries, almost as many girls smoke as boys.

The Philippine data is higher than the global average. According to the latest WHO report, the smoking percentage of Filipinos in the age group 13-15 years is 22.7% with more boys smoking than girls who are, nevertheless, catching up. It also represents a 6.8% increase from the previous WHO report.

This year?s World No Tobacco Day also highlights 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.

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, strokes, cancers and respiratory diseases that have become increasingly prevalent among women. (PIA 8) [top]

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