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Cigarette Ads Target Women Worldwide

Before tobacco ads were banned in the United States, there was a commercial for Virginia Slims that began “You’ve come a long way baby, to get where you’ve (sic) to, today. . .”  Consumer groups were angered by the “glamorization” of smoking in those ads.

Now, the World Health Organization is speaking out against ads that specifically target women and young girls.  The agency is specifically concerned with untapped markets in developing countries.

WHO conducted a survey of 151 countries; the report showed that half of said countries reported that as many young girls smoke as young boys.  And, just like the Virginia Slims ad, the marketing strategy of tobacco companies of late is trying to make smoking “look good” to young females.

The agency is particularly concerned that women in China will be targeted, because a much lower percentage of girls smoke compared to boys in that country.

According to the American Heart Association, smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.  Cigarette smoking kills 440,000 Americans per year; 135,000 die as a result of heart disease.  The AHA also states that cigarette smokers are 2-3 more likely to have cardiovascular disease than non-smokers.

Smoking is also closely associated with various other diseases, such as lung cancer, cancer of the mouth bronchitis, aneurysms and other serious ailments.

The American Cancer Society website states that an incredible 30% of all cancer deaths in the US are directly tied to cigarettes.  On average, those who have never smoked live 10 years longer than heavy smokers.

And cigarettes not only shorten lives, they seriously hinderthe quality of life in older Americans, says the ACS.  Researchers from the University of Helsinki conducted a study on older men; as compared to their nonsmoking counterparts, the smokers suffered more physical and emotional problems.