Women, smoking, cigarette advertising and cancer

Women Health. Fall-Winter 1986;11(3-4):217-35. doi: 10.1300/j013v11n03_15.


Cigarette smoking is a major cause of cancer in women, accounting for about one-fourth of their estimated 219,000 cancer deaths per year. Cigarette smoking specifically increases a woman's risk of developing cancer of the lung, larynx, esophagus, oral cavity, pancreas, kidney, bladder, and possibly uterine cervix. During the past twenty years, concerted efforts have been made by the tobacco industry to increase sales to women. Strategies have included development of "feminine" brands such as Virginia Slims, slick media campaigns portraying smoking as elegant and glamorous, and sponsorship of fashion, women's sports events, and even medical programs. Reversal of these alarming trends requires that women as well as men recognize the role of cigarette smoking in cancer causation, and support programs which promote non-smoking as well as combat the influence of the tobacco industry on women's smoking behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Advertising*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Smoking Prevention
  • Smoking*
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / complications
  • United States
  • Women / psychology*