The role of public policy in reducing tobacco use among women

  • H. Selin
Conference paper


The tobacco epidemic in developed countries has followed a predictable pattern: smoking rates among men increase and peak and are followed by increased smoking by women while men’s smoking declines. Men’s smoking rates also tend to peak at a higher level than women’s. Developing and recently industrialized countries are half-way into the epidemic. In many Asian, African and Middle Eastern countries, where men’s smoking rates are very high, women’s rates remain low in comparison, often below 10%. Still, women’s smoking rates are increasing, signalling the beginning of a tobacco epidemic among females that could rival that of the developed world. This situation does not imply, as some have said, that we have not made progress in reducing women’s tobacco use. In most developed countries, their use has declined because of improved tobacco control policies. Unfortunately, the tobacco industry has made greater progress. Having attracted men in many developing markets to their products, transnational tobacco companies have turned their attention to women. The marketing tactics they use are similar to those used in western countries decades ago.


Tobacco Control Environmental Tobacco Smoke Tobacco Industry Tobacco Company Health Warning 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Selin
    • 1
  1. 1.Smoking and Health Action FoundationOntarioCanada

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