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Promoting Tobacco to Women of Reproductive Age Harms FetusesPromoting Tobacco to Women of Reproductive Age

Harold J. Farber, MD, MSPH, FCCP
Author and Funding Information

From the Department of Pediatrics, Pulmonary Section, Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children’s Hospital.

Correspondence to: Harold J. Farber, MD, MSPH, FCCP, Department of Pediatrics, Pulmonary Section, Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children’s Hospital, 6701 Fannin CC 1040.00, Houston, TX 77030; e-mail: hjfarber@texaschildrens.org


Financial/nonfinancial disclosures: The author has reported to CHEST that no potential conflicts of interest exist with any companies/organizations whose products or services may be discussed in this article.

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians (http://www.chestpubs.org/site/misc/reprints.xhtml).


© 2012 American College of Chest Physicians


Chest. 2012;141(4):839-840. doi:10.1378/chest.11-2334
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Extract

In the early part of the 20th century, smoking tobacco was not socially acceptable for women. Seeing a marketing opportunity, the tobacco industry targeted women of reproductive age. A 1950s advertisement promoted smoking to mothers with a picture of a baby and the caption, “Before you scold me, Mom … maybe you’d better light up a Marlboro.”1 The following decades saw advertising slogans like, “You’ve come a long way, baby,” “It’s a woman thing,” “Light and luscious,” and so on. The tobacco industry developed cigarettes for women (such as Virginia Slims, Eve, Kim, and Satin) and promoted smoking to women and girls as a sign of liberation, independence, self-confidence, glamour, adventure, exclusivity, and success.2,3 Smoking rates among women peaked in the mid-1960s; they still remain substantial. The 2006 National Youth Tobacco Survey (United States) reported the then-current smoking prevalence of 21.3% (95% CI, 19.2%-23.4%) in high school girls, a rate that was not significantly changed from the 2004 survey.4 A substantial proportion of women continue to enter their reproductive years tobacco dependent.

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