04 Jul 2018

Gender-Responsive Tobacco Control: Evidence and Options for Policies and Programmes

WHO FCTC Sarah Hawkes and Kent Buse, with contributions from Soon-Young...+1 more
Sarah Hawkes and Kent Buse, with contributions from Soon-Young Soon
20 mins
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What you'll learn
The importance of integrating gender into tobacco policies and programming
  • Gender, and its intersections with other social stratifiers, is a key driver of tobacco-related health inequities and largely influences tobacco exposure and the design and delivery of health system responses. However, tobacco control research, policies, and programs have historically been gender-blind.
  • This report summarises evidence on the gendered nature and impacts of tobacco – including how gender and other social norms influence tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure, the ways in which such norms may be exploited by the tobacco industry, healthcare-seeking behaviour, and interactions with health systems.
  • It also provides strategic guidance on gender-responsive policies and programmes, which should be grounded in human rights, gender equality, and the health and well-being goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and leverage multi-stakeholder partnerships across all sectors.

Gender influences tobacco exposure and use, health care use and treatment pathways, as well as the design of health system responses. The tobacco control community should develop and implement policies and programmes that are gender-responsive and can improve the health of everyone – men, women, boys, girls and transgender people—in all their diversity.

Key Takeaways
Gender-responsive policy and programmes
Gender-responsive policy and programmes

Recognise gender as an intersectional social determinant of health and strengthening capacity for gender analysis – including monitoring and evaluating data disaggregated by sex and other factors – are critical to equitable and effective tobacco control efforts at all levels.

Gender-responsive demand-side interventions
Gender-responsive demand-side interventions

Reducing exposure to tobacco can be accomplished by implementing, monitoring, and evaluating gender-responsive actions such as price and tax increases on tobacco products; gender-responsive messaging in tobacco education, information, and cessations campaigns; and sex-and gender-based analysis of the impact of tobacco advertising.

Gender-responsive supply-side interventions
Gender-responsive supply-side interventions

Reducing the supply of tobacco can be accomplished by implementing, monitoring and evaluating gender-responsive actions such as promoting alternative and sustainable livelihoods for tobacco growers and producers that account for the specific needs of women and girls; and upholding and enhancing bans on the promotion and sales of tobacco products to minors to combat industry tactics that exploit gender norms and target young people.

Gender-responsive participatory processes
Gender-responsive participatory processes

Education and public awareness efforts should be designed through meaningful engagement with affected communities, including men, women, adolescents, LGBT people, people in specific occupations, etc. Additionally, collaborating with and funding gender equality, women’s empowerment, and community development programmes – as well as mobilising political and civic gender champions embedded in national policymaking processes – can accelerate progress toward gender-responsive tobacco control.

Gender-responsive health care services
Gender-responsive health care services

Promoting gender equality – including equal pay for equal work – in health systems and building the capacity of health workers to understand and respond to the gendered impacts of tobacco – including second-hand smoke exposure in pregnancy – are critical to the prevention and management of tobacco use. Additionally, integrating evidence on gender and tobacco control into universal health coverage plans can contribute to the development of quality health services and more equitable health systems.

Ensure that gender equality and women’s empowerment policies and programmes go hand in hand with enhanced tobacco control programmes on the understanding that at a macro level, women’s empowerment and reductions in gender inequality have often been associated with an increase in women’s smoking rates.

A green tobacco field.

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    Policy Brief
    05 Jun 2019
    Delivering Healthy Lives and Well-Being for Women and Girls: Noncommunicable Diseases and Universal Health Coverage
    Journal Article
    03 Dec 2019
    Evaluating a Tool to Support the Integration of Gender in Programs to Promote Men’s Health
    Evidence Summary
    03 Jan 2011
    Evidence for gender responsive actions to promote mental health: Young people’s health as a whole-of-society response
    04 Jan 2007
    Integrating Poverty and Gender into Health Programmes: Sourcebook for Health Professionals – Module on Noncommunicable Diseases