Women catching up men in smoking deaths

Nearly 14,000 women died of cancers closely related to smoking in 2010, an increase of 36 percent on ten years previously, the Federal Statistic Office said on Thursday – World No Tobacco Day.

Women catching up men in smoking deaths
Photo: DPA

Smoking-related cancers such as those of the lungs, bronchia, larynx and trachea killed a total of 44,457 people in Germany in 2010 – 31 percent of whom were women.

The total in 2001 was 40,053 – of whom just 25 percent were women. But women lose more years of life than men when they get these cancers, the figures show. On average, men who get these kinds of illnesses lose 2.9 years of life, while women lose 10.5 years of their lives.

Yet younger women are slightly less likely to smoke now than older women – with figures from the Microcensus department of the statistics office showing a slight decline in women smokers aged between 15 and 40 and a slight increase in those older than 40.

Smokers are also gradually moving away from cigarettes, with the daily national consumption of 398 million in 2002 falling to 240 million in 2011, the figures show. But this does not take into account the number of untaxed cigarettes – bought from smugglers or brought in by consumers themselves from abroad.

There has also been an increase in rolling tobacco consumption, which is taxed less than cigarettes, and thus costs the consumers less.

The German Cancer Research Centre has called for a ban on cigarette advertising in the country too, saying it contributes to young people taking up smoking and makes it harder for smokers to quit.

The centre’s latest report on tobacco marketing gives an overview of how advertising and sponsorship puts tobacco in public places through German society.

“From outdoor advertising at public transport stations and stops, movie theatres, internet offers, event marketing, gift promotions and sponsoring through to advertisements in supermarkets and at gas stations – tobacco companies make use of every way of addressing the public. Germany is the only EU member state which still allows outdoor tobacco advertising,” the centre said in a statement.

“The German Cancer Research Centre demands an immediate ban on cigarette advertising,” said Prof Otmar Wiestler, the centre’s CEO.

“The practice of cigarette advertising in this country is irresponsible. Cigarettes are fundamentally different from any other legally sold product because they are toxic and pose the largest avoidable cancer risk. The fact that they are extremely hazardous to health is enough reason for them to have a special status.”

The Local/hc

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