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Turkish Journal of Cancer
2008, Volume 38, Number 3, Page(s) 099-112
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Patterns and dynamics of female tobacco use: A comparative perspective of Turkey and the United States
BELGİN ERTEN1, DİLEK ASLAN2
1Tulane University, Department of Public Health, Mandeville, LA-USA
2Hacettepe University, Department of Public Health, Ankara-Turkey

The United States and Turkey differ in their level of development on a global scale and this fact contributes to explain the differences observed in their trends of female tobacco use. In this paper, the patterns and dynamics of women’s tobacco consumption in both US and Turkey will be discussed. Currently almost 25 million Turkish smokers help comprise 1.3 billion smokers worldwide. A staggering 45.3 million American smokers help comprise an even larger portion of that figure. Despite there being nearly double the number of smokers in the United States, 30% of the Turkish population are purposefully inhaling tobacco fumes on a daily basis, faring higher than the US with a 23.4% smoking population. To provide another point of comparison, one may look at both genders for a greater perspective and learn that in 2005 the prevalence amongst females over 15 years of age was found to be 21.5% in the US and 19.2% in Turkey and for males over 15 years of age, 26.3% in the US and 51.6% in Turkey. Women have a number of reasons unique to those of men for taking up smoking like weight control, increasingly high stress due to responsibilities of caring for children, growing careers, female physical health issues and dealing with the hectic nature of urban lifestyles. Additionally, tobacco marketing strategists recognize a cultural shift in developing countries, and have responded with cleverly designed advertisements that implant manipulative ideas of consumerism and false ideas of the necessity of cigarettes to becoming independent. Solutions for prevention of smoking increase among females need a holistic approach. [Turk J Cancer 2008;38(3):99-112]

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