Although women account for only about 20% of the world’s 1 billion smokers, female tobacco use is on the rise. Particularly troubling is evidence that tobacco industry advertising increasingly targets girls and women. On May 31, 2010, the  Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) joined its tobacco control partners to celebrate World No Tobacco Day—an annual awareness day sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) since 1987 to draw worldwide attention to the tobacco epidemic and the preventable death and disease it causes. The theme for this year’s World No Tobacco Day is “gender and tobacco, with an emphasis on marketing to women.”

World No Tobacco Day 2010 recognized the importance of controlling the epidemic of tobacco use among women. This year’s theme emphasizes the importance of understanding gender differences in tobacco use, advertising, and health effects to protect and promote the health of women and girls worldwide.

Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death worldwide and is estimated to kill more than 5 million people each year. If current trends continue, by 2030, tobacco use will cause more than 8 million deaths annually.

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