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Tobacco & Women

Socioeconomic Concerns

Almost 20% of adult women in the United States are current cigarette smokers. Smoking rate disparities for women visibly emerge when socioeconomic status is taken into account. Read more about tobacco use among women in Maine from the Women Fact Sheet.

Health Concerns

Read about the Differences in Lung Cancer Risk Between Men and Women.

View Wisdom Gained from the Heart, an 11-minute video that touchingly highlights Maine Women sharing their personal stories of surviving and living with cardiovascular disease. The video also features discussions by experts about CVD.


Researchers have isolated differences in quitting success between men and women that may have a significant impact on treatment.

Find more information about women and quitting in our Providers section.

Learn more about Quitting Tobacco.

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Tobacco Messaging

Women have been extensively targeted in tobacco marketing. Tobacco companies have long produced brands specifically for women, and slick ads that exploit gender differences and the desires of women are unrelenting.

Marketing toward women is dominated by themes of social desirability and independence, which are conveyed by advertisements featuring slim, attractive, and athletic models. Tobacco is also promoted to women as a buffer for negative feelings, a time-out from stress, and as way to control weight.

Tobacco & Girls

When it comes to tobacco use and addiction, girls are a vulnerable target.

Also, while tobacco companies have a long history of attracting women, their tactics include ads and promotions that specifically target girls as well. Slick ads for Camel No. 9 have run in magazines popular with girls, including Vogue, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire and InStyle. Promotional giveaways have included items such as berry lip balm, cell phone jewelry, cute little purses and wristbands, all in hot pink.

Find out about how Big Tobacco targets women and girls.

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Pregnant smokers are a particular concern for Maine. The number of Maine pregnant women who smoke is 3% higher than the national figure. Among Maine's pregnant teens, that rate soars to double the national average. In addition, the chances of relapse for new mothers escalate. Women who stop smoking during pregnancy relapse more than half of the time within 12 months after delivery.

The health consequences of smoking while pregnant are dramatic. Compared with unexposed infants, babies exposed to secondhand smoke after birth are at twice the risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), and infants whose mothers smoked before and after birth are at 3 to 4 times greater risk. Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of pregnancy complications, premature delivery, low-birth-weight infants, and stillbirth. Tthe nicotine in cigarettes may cause constrictions in the blood vessels of the umbilical cord and uterus.

Is there nicotine in breast milk? Read the Surgeon General’s Report on Women and Smoking.

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