2010: Gender and tobacco


An anti-smoking poster produced by WHO for the 2010 campaign, and available to download

Women comprise about 20% of the world's more than 1 billion smokers. However, this figure is bound to increase as tobacco advertising increasingly targets girls. Female rates of smoking are on the rise, and women are a major target of opportunity for the tobacco industry, which needs to recruit new users to replace the nearly half of current users who will die prematurely from tobacco-related diseases.

The new WHO report, Women and health: today's evidence, tomorrow's agenda, contains data from 151 countries showing that about 7% of adolescent girls smoke cigarettes as opposed to 12% of adolescent boys. In some countries, almost as many girls smoke as boys.

The theme for World No Tobacco Day 2010 - Gender and tobacco with an emphasis on marketing to women - draws attention to the harmful effects of tobacco marketing towards women and girls. It 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.