At this very moment, the number of tobacco victims has risen to
more than 2.5 million. Women and girls pay the highest price-with
women who smoke running as much as six times the risk of having a
heart attack as nonsmoking women-a far greater risk than in men.
Women who smoke also increase their risk of developing cancer,
heart disease and stroke, reproductive disorders, emphysema,
bronchitis and pneumonia.|
Fact: According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control
and Prevention Office of Women's Health, women who smoke increase
their risk of developing cancer, heart disease and stroke,
reproductive disorders, emphysema, bronchitis and pneumonia.
Fact: Women and children who do not smoke are not spared.
The World Health Organization estimates that nearly 700 million,
or almost half of the world's children, breathe air polluted by
tobacco smoke, particularly at home. Environmental tobacco smoke-ETS
or secondhand smoke-is a significant cause of heart disease and is
estimated to be the cause of 35,000 to 62,000 deaths among
nonsmokers from heart disease in the United States each year.
Tobacco companies are growing more and more aggressive. Women
are bombarded with print ads in magazines that depend on that
revenue. These same magazines, even those that proclaim to focus
on women's health, have been shown less likely to publish articles
on the dangers of smoking.
Non-Profit organizations that work to eliminate domestic violence
and house its victims are also falling prey to Tobacco marketers
by becoming more and more dependent on its funding. How ironic
that women who are victims of domestic violence are now becoming
financially dependent on another type of abuser-tobacco
If the Philip Morris Companies were really interested in saving
women's lives, they would stop manufacturing, advertising and
selling tobacco products around the world - instead of hiding
behind a false cloak of corporate citizenship while they lure
young people and women into addiction.
The overall result of this onslaught is that by the year 2025, the
number of women smokers worldwide is expected to triple to more
than 600 million.
Women and children who do not smoke are not spared. The World
Health Organization estimates that nearly 700 million, or almost
half of the world's children, breathe air polluted by tobacco
smoke, particularly at home. In Norway, environmental or
secondhand smoke was associated with an increased risk for low
birth weight babies; in the Xi'an province of China, nonsmoking
women had a 24% increased incidence of coronary heart disease if
their husbands smoked, and an 85% increased incidence if they were
exposed to passive smoke at work.
Given the tobacco industry's long history of subverting public
health initiatives, it will be vital for all of us, individually
and within our organizations and women's networks to speak out
loud and clear. Cancel subscriptions to magazines that carry
tobacco ads, and let them know why! As hard as it seems, stop
giving volunteer time and money to organizations that accept
tobacco funds -and tell them why.
Without a strong framework to combat tobacco use around the world
- women will remain victims of this dastardly industry.