Tobacco Industry Targets Women, Surgeon General Reports
Tobacco advertising -- dominated by themes of "social desirability and independence" and images of "slim, attractive, athletic models" -- "heavily" targets women, according to a new report from the surgeon general. CongressDaily/A.M. reports that the study, scheduled for release today, could provide "fresh ammunition" for antismoking groups pushing for FDA regulatory authority of tobacco. The report also may prompt legislators to establish limits on "environmental tobacco smoke," a reported cause of lung cancer and coronary heart disease among "women who are lifetime non-smokers." In addition, the study, which found that the industry "is now attempting to export the epidemic of smoking to areas of the world where the smoking prevalence among females has traditionally been low," may help "curtail" cigarette sales overseas. The report urged government officials and lawmakers to "expose and counter the tobacco industry's deliberate targeting of women and to decry its efforts to link smoking ... with women's right[s] and progress in society." An official with a "leading health care organization" concluded, "The key question for [HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson] and this administration is whether they will use the report to push for strong FDA regulation or simply use it for show that leads to nothing" (Koffler, CongressDaily/A.M., 3/27).