"We know that tobacco advertising increasingly targets girls," said WHO Assistant Director-General for Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health Dr Ala Alwan. "This campaign calls attention to the tobacco industry's attempts to market its deadly products by associating tobacco use with beauty and liberation."
Often the threat to women is less from their being enticed to smoke or chew tobacco than from their being exposed to the smoke of others, particularly men. Worldwide, of the approximately 430,000 adult deaths caused per year by second-hand smoke, about 64% are among women. Pregnant women, as well as their babies, are also vulnerable to the harms of second-hand smoke.
"By enforcing the WHO Framework Convention, governments can reduce the toll of fatal and crippling heart attacks, strokes, cancers and respiratory diseases that have become increasingly prevalent among women," says Dr Douglas Bettcher, Director of WHO's Tobacco Free Initiative.
WHO calls on governments and the public to demand a ban on all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; to support implementation and strong enforcement of legislation to provide 100% protection from tobacco smoke in all public and work places; and to take global action to advocate for women's freedom from tobacco.
The international launch of World No Tobacco Day 2010 will take place on 31 May in Tokyo, Japan. The launch will begin at 10:00 a.m. (Tokyo time) with a press conference at the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.
A symposium about the theme of World No Tobacco Day 2010 will begin at 2:30 p.m. (Tokyo time) at the National Cancer Centre, which is an official WHO Collaborating Centre. A new WHO monograph, "Gender, women, and the tobacco epidemic", will be presented there.