The female smoker: from addiction to recovery

Am J Med Sci. 2003 Oct;326(4):231-4. doi: 10.1097/00000441-200310000-00015.


Millions of American girls and women have been drawn to smoking by an industry that has been clearly and systematically targeting women of all ages and life circumstances. Big tobacco's well-timed marketing strategies skillfully link cigarette use to typical female values: independence, self-reliance, weight control, stress management, social progress and popularity, personal attractiveness, autonomy, self-fulfillment, youth, happiness, personal success, health, and active, vigorous, and strenuous lifestyles. Biologically speaking, women are especially vulnerable to the legion of health problems of tobacco use. Smoking is a critical hazard for women in their reproductive years, particularly when they are pregnant. The US Public Health Service 2000 Clinical Practice Guideline provides helpful guidance and sound general recommendations for the treatment of women of all ages for tobacco use and dependence. Women and girls who smoke represent diverse subgroups of the population with unique issues and needs. The 2001 Surgeon General's Report on Women and Smoking stresses the importance of multistrategy programs for treating female smokers. This approach includes antitobacco media campaigns, increases in tobacco prices, promotion of nonsmoking in public places, curbs on tobacco advertising and promotion, enforcement of legislation to reduce youth access to tobacco products, and effective tobacco use treatment programs.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Smoking Cessation*
  • Smoking Prevention
  • Smoking* / adverse effects
  • Smoking* / epidemiology
  • Smoking* / psychology
  • Tobacco Use Disorder* / epidemiology
  • Tobacco Use Disorder* / therapy