- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.