Female smokers have attracted special attention from both the tobacco industry and health groups. The former is interested because of the relative stability of women's smoking rates, compared to the steady decline in male rates (although recent national surveys have indicated that women's rates are now also in decline). Women obviously comprise an important customer group for the industry. Health workers are concerned by the epidemic of smoking related disease occurring among women: their death rates from lung cancer are continuing to rise, while men's are now in decline.(1) Added to this, women are subject to a variety of sex-specific diseases, and young females are taking up smoking at a far earlier age than in previous decades.(2)
Some of the information in this chapter appears elsewhere in this book, but because there is now more specific interest in matters relating to women and smoking, it has been collected in one place to aid quick reference. Readers seeking wider discussion should also refer to other chapters.
References to Chapter 16