Gender Differences and the Effects of Health Warnings and Legislation on Cigarette Smoking
Peter Owoko Kobonyo (Department of Business Administration, University of Nairobi)
Download Article | Published On 01/01/2001


The widespread existence of smoking as a form of social behavior despite growing worldwide disapproval has placed cigarette smoking at the heart of a growing controversy. The World Health Organization (WHO) now periodically reports on the effects of tobacco consumption on the health of smokers. In South Africa, new legal steps are being taken towards the control of tobacco smoking. This is in line with world­ wide trends towards tougher tobacco legislation. Research on the topic of tobacco and smoking arc numerous and represents world-wide attempts to understand and eradicate what is generally considered a deadly epidemic. However, the role of gender in cigarette consumption and tobacco-control is surprisingly under­ researched. While few attempts have been made to study the underlying circumstances of smoking by differentiating between the genders, the possible response to tobacco-control measures by men and women seem to have not commanded much attention. The present study was a response to the need to gain a better understanding of the differences in the smoking profiles of women and men and whether these differences are reflected in the way the two sexes respond, first, to health warnings on smoking and, secondly, to legislation prohibiting advertising of tobacco products. 50 women and 50 men drawn from tertiary institutions and retail businesses participated in the study by completing a questionnaire. The results show some similarities and differences between female and male smokers. In the light of this, it seems appropriate to suggest that more gender sensitive approaches to dealing With smoking problems might achieve better outcomes

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