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More Female-Targeted Cigarette Ads

smoking fashionTobacco use is growing among females, suggesting they are also increasingly the target of cigarette advertising, according to an analysis of a global tobacco survey.The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and health officials in Bangladesh, Thailand and Uruguay examined how tobacco use and marketing awareness varied among males and females in 14 countries. Analyses from Bangladesh, Thailand and Uruguay were published Friday by the CDC. Among the report’s findings we can se the next facts:  In all three countries, awareness of tobacco marketing was more prevalent among females ages 15 to 24 than older women, suggesting that tobacco companies might be targeting this age group.

  • Tobacco use was higher among men than women in all three countries, but tobacco use varied greatly by sex. For example, in Bangladesh, overall smoking prevalence among women was 1.5 percent, compared to 44.7 percent of men. But use of smokeless tobacco products was about the same among women (27.9 percent) and men (26.4 percent).
  • Smokeless tobacco use is socially acceptable among females in Southeast Asian countries, where older women are more likely to be users. In Uruguay, on the other hand, smokeless tobacco use among either men or women is virtually nonexistence.
  • Regardless of age group and whether they lived in urban or rural areas, men were more likely to smoke than women in all three countries.

There are 1.3 million tobacco users in the world, and tens of billions of dollars are spent on tobacco advertising each year. The report says comprehensive bans on advertising, sponsorship and promotion of tobacco products, as recommended by the World Health Organization, can reduce per capita cigarette consumption if enforced.

According to the WHO, 26 countries — including Thailand, Bangladesh and Uruguay — have comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, but many do not have high levels of compliance. Enforcement is rated high in Bangladesh and Uruguay, and lower in Thailand. In the U.S., a legal settlement with state attorneys general is supposed to prevent tobacco companies from targeting young people, but a recent study found that some ads continue and appeal directly to young girls.

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