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Women and tobacco: a call for including gender in tobacco control research, policy and practice
  1. Amanda Amos1,
  2. Lorraine Greaves2,3,
  3. Mimi Nichter4,
  4. Michele Bloch5
  1. 1UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies, Centre for Population Health Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Medical School, Edinburgh, UK
  2. 2British Columbia Centre of Excellence for Women's Health, School of Population and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  3. 3President, International Network of Women Against Tobacco
  4. 4School of Anthropology, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA
  5. 5Tobacco Control Research Branch, U.S. National Cancer Institute, 6130 Executive Boulevard, Rockville, Maryland, USA
  1. Correspondence to Professor Amanda Amos, UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies, Centre for Population Health Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Medical School, Teviot Place, Edinburgh EH8 9AG, UK; amanda.amos{at}


Objectives Female smoking is predicted to double between 2005 and 2025. There have been numerous calls for action on women's tobacco use over the past two decades. In the present work, evidence about female tobacco use, progress, challenges and ways forward for developing gendered tobacco control is reviewed.

Methods Literature on girls, women and tobacco was reviewed to identify trends and determinants of tobacco use and exposure, the application of gender analysis, tobacco marketing, the impact of tobacco control on girls and women and ways to address these issues particularly in low-income and middle-income countries.

Results Global female tobacco use is increasingly complex, involving diverse products and factors including tobacco marketing, globalisation and changes in women's status. In high-income countries female smoking is declining but is increasingly concentrated among disadvantaged women. In low-income and middle-income countries the pattern is more complex; in several regions the gap between girls' and boys' smoking is narrow. Gendered analyses and approaches to tobacco control are uncommon, especially in low-income and middle-income countries.

Conclusions Tobacco control has remained largely gender blind, with little recognition of the importance of understanding the context and challenges of girl's and women's smoking and secondhand smoke exposure. There has been little integration of gender considerations in research, policy and programmes. The present work makes a case for gender and diversity analyses in tobacco control to reflect and identify intersecting factors affecting women's tobacco use. This will help animate the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control's concern for gender specificity and women's leadership, and reduce the impact of tobacco on women.

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  • young adults
  • cessation

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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