World No Tobacco Day is May 31, Focus is on Women
Monday, May 31, is Memorial Day in the United States. It is also the day the the World Health Organization (WHO) has chosen to bring worldwide focus on tobacco use prevention and cessation with their World No Tobacco Day 2010.
This year WHO has selected to focus on controlling the epidemic of tobacco use among women, choosing the theme: "Gender and tobacco with an emphasis on marketing to women" for World No Tobacco Day.
Women may only 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. Women are a major target of opportunity for the tobacco industry.
This increase prevalence of female smokers is especially troubling among young girls. Data from 151 countries show 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 adverse health effects from cigarette smoking account for an estimated 443,000 deaths, or nearly 1 of every 5 deaths, each year in the United States. Tobacco use causes more deaths each year than by all deaths from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined.
Smoking cigarettes can cause lung cancer as well as other lung diseases -- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), emphysema, and bronchitis. Smoking increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease.
Of particular concern to women, smoking has many adverse reproductive and early childhood effects, including increased risk for— infertility, preterm delivery, stillbirth, low birth weight, and sudden infant death syndrome.
Smoking is not pretty. It can cause yellowing of your teeth and fingertips. It increases wrinkling and premature aging of the skin.
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