Tobacco companies specifically targeting girls in South Korea

January 30th, 2009 - 3:31 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, January 30 (ANI): Transnational tobacco companies (TTCs) in South Korea are specifically targeting girls and young women, reveals a new study.

Kelley Lee, from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, with her team of researchers, examined internal documents from the tobacco industry in the region, which unwrapped tactics aimed to encourage new female smokers in Asia.

She said: “Since the opening of the South Korean tobacco market in the late 1980s, females have been targeted by TTCs as an important source of future market growth and profitability. The rise in smoking rates among females within certain age groups since the late 1980s suggests that these efforts have been successful”.

Lee further found that the schemes used in the advertising campaigns in the US and Europe since the 1920s, which linked smoking with feminism and the liberation of women, were also mirrored in South Korea to appeal to female smokers.

Lee said: “Product design associating smoking with body image and female emancipation, familiarly deployed elsewhere, have been extensively used in South Korea to appeal to female smokers.

So-called “ultra light”, “low tar” and “superslim” cigarettes have been particularly effective, falsely suggesting certain brands offer a healthier or safer option, as well as appealing to female concerns about weight gain. Tighter restrictions on the use of such descriptors, alongside public education on the fallacy of such claims, are badly needed in South Korea”.

She concluded: “The implementation of comprehensive tobacco control measures in South Korea, as set out under the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, is urgently needed to protect and promote the health of Korean women and girls”.

The study was published in the open access journal Globalization and Health. (ANI)

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