MONDAY, May 31, 2010 (HealthDay News) -- Although cancer death rates for women are generally on the downswing, statistics indicate that female lung cancer fatalities are rising, the American Lung Association (ALA) says.
More than 170,000 American women die every year from tobacco-related illness, the ALA estimates. And chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including chronic bronchitis and emphysema, kills more women than men.
To draw attention to the harmful effects of tobacco use and tobacco industry marketing as it pertains to women and girls, the ALA and the World Health Organization are observing World No Tobacco Day on May 31.
The organization hopes awareness of World No Tobacco Daywill encourage female smokers to kick the habit, perhaps with the help of the ALA's "Freedom from Smoking Online" program, which provides both men and women assistance with quitting.
"Quitting smoking is the single most important thing that most individuals can do to improve their health, and World No Tobacco Day is a great day for all to stop using tobacco products," Mary H. Partridge, ALA's national board chair, said in a news release.
In addition to underscoring the importance of quitting, the ALA also seeks to highlight the ways in which the marketing tactics of tobacco manufacturers target women.
"The tobacco industry has a long and shameful history of targeting women and children," said Partridge. "The most recent example is R.J. Reynolds' Camel No. 9 cigarettes, a pink-hued version that one newspaper dubbed 'Barbie Camel' because of marketing that appealed to girls. Advertised as 'available in stiletto' with promotional giveaways of flavored lip glosses and pink purses, it seems clear who R.J. Reynolds was targeting."
For help on quitting smoking, visit the American Lung Association.