WHO report reveals urgency of confronting tobacco use among women in Europe

Feb. 15, 2021

WHO/Europe launched a new report on women and the tobacco epidemic “Through a gender lens: women and tobacco in the WHO European Region,” announced the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Europe.

The new estimates show that 19 percent or 67 million women use tobacco in the WHO European Region, making it the region with the highest tobacco use prevalence for women.

Updated statistics regarding progress on women and tobacco in the European Region present a troubling picture for public health. This highlights the importance to refocus tobacco control efforts across the region to actively confront the tobacco industry attempts to hook women and girls on tobacco products and to promote gender-transformative policies as a high priority.

Although tobacco use among women is decreasing overall, the rate is going down at a much slower pace than in men, and in some countries, it is increasing. The new report outlines the gendered nature of tobacco use and exposure, and how the tobacco industry continues to target women and girls through gendered messaging. It also provides recommendations for approaches and policy interventions that take a gender lens to tobacco control.

WHO Regional Office for Europe has the report.