Tobacco use and marketing among women – Bangladesh, Thailand, and Uruguay

A new study published in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention journal, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reportexamines data from the 2009 Global Adult Tobacco Surveys (GATS) conducted in Bangladesh, Thailand, and Uruguay.  GATS is a nationally representative survey that tracks tobacco use using a standard protocol to ensure comparability across countries. The study found wide variation across the three countries in terms of tobacco use (smoked and smokeless) and awareness of tobacco marketing among men and women, pointing to the significant role of tobacco marketing in the initiation and maintenance of tobacco use.
 
Study Findings
·         In all three countries, use of smoked tobacco is higher among men than women.
o        In Bangladesh, 1.5% of women are current smokers, compared with 44.7% of men.
o        In Thailand, 3.1% of women are current smokers, compared with 45.6% of men.
o        In Uruguay, 19.8% of women are current smokers, compared with 30.7% of men.
·         The use of smokeless tobacco is similar for both men and women in Bangladesh, while in Thailand smokeless use is higher in women than men.
o        In Bangladesh, 27.9% of women and 26.4% of men use smokeless tobacco. 
o        In Thailand, 6.3% of women and 1.3% of men use smokeless products.
o        Uruguay has almost no smokeless tobacco use.
·         Exposure to cigarette marketing varies by country.
o        In Bangladesh, 68% of men and 29.3% of women noticed any cigarette marketing.
o        In Thailand, 17.4% of men and 14.5% of women noticed any cigarette marketing.
o        In Uruguay, 49% of men and 40% of women noticed any cigarette marketing.
o        The lowest exposure to tobacco marketing was found in Thailand, where a comprehensive ban on advertising—including at the point of sale—has been implemented.
·         In all countries, exposure to tobacco advertising, sponsorship, and promotion was greater among young adult women (15–24 years of age) than among older women (25 years of age or older).
o        In Bangladesh, 37.9% of young women and 25.6% of older women noticed any cigarette marketing.
o        In Thailand, 28.1% of younger women and 11.2% of older women noticed any cigarette marketing.
o        In Uruguay, 62.5% of younger women and 34.9% of older women noticed any cigarette marketing.
 
Key Messages
·         Tobacco marketing plays a significant role in the initiation and maintenance of tobacco use; the tobacco industry spends tens of billions of dollar annually on direct and indirect advertising of tobacco products.
·         Younger females (ages 15-24) appear to be especially vulnerable to such marketing, suggesting that tobacco companies are targeting this population where there is the greatest potential for profit.
·         Governments around the world must implement and enforce policies mandated by the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control which includes a ban on tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship.
 
Full citation
U.S.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Differences in Sex in Tobacco Use and Awareness of Tobacco Marketing — Bangladesh, Thailand, and Uruguay, 2009. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report [online serial] 2010 May 28;59(20):613-8.
 
Full report available from [English only] http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5920a2.htm
 
If you have questions about the report or how you may use it in your advocacy efforts, please email research@tobaccofreecenter.org.
 

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