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Monaldi Arch Chest Dis. 1997 Aug;52(4):384-9.

How women and youth are targeted by the tobacco industry.

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School of Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, Kensington, Australia.


Women and youth are fast becoming casualties of the cigarette epidemic. Although global male smoking rates are almost four times higher than female rates (47 versus 12%), male rates are declining, while female smoking rates are increasing. With the significant decline in tobacco consumption over the past two decades in Western countries, the tobacco industry has responded by developing new markets. The main targets of the tobacco industry are women and youth: in developing countries, in lower socioeconomic groups, and those with independent careers. The tobacco industry recognizes that women and youth represent a major untapped market and are targeting them with aggressive advertising, marketing and promotional campaigns, sponsorship, and employment in the growing tobacco industry. In addition, they are applying political and commercial pressure to open new markets in developing countries. These initiatives of the tobacco industry have resulted in an increase in tobacco use among women and youth. The economic arguments put forward by the tobacco industry of providing employment for many people have to be balanced against the social and financial drain that tobacco costs the economy in the health area, and the human suffering from preventable diseases resulting from smoking.

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