Tobacco's New Target: Women in Developing Countries

As smoking rates decline in the developed world, tobacco companies are searching for new markets, and they are finding them in developing south Asian countries, Indonesia, the Philippines and Cambodia. People in rural areas of Bangladesh see advertisements that are unimaginable in other parts of the world. Ads tell smokers that they are smarter, more energetic and better lovers than non-smokers. Kasi Saifuddin Bennoor, a Bangladeshi chest doctor, recalls seeing an ad in a rural part of the country saying that "if a lady smokes, her baby will be smaller and it will be easier to deliver, the labor will be less painful." He says, "These are very ruthless advertisements." Such promotions are linked to an alarming rise in tobacco use among women and youth in impoverished south Asian and other developing countries. The World Health Organization warns that tobacco companies are targeting women in developing countries as new growth markets, and says doctors report treating more female patients with lung disease.


The tobacco industry has been targeting women in developing countries for a while.
This 2003 article (at Women's eNews) begins, "An international report says the tobacco industry's increased marketing towards women in developing nations, and especially Asia, is reversing women's historically low smoking rates."

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