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I'd like to hear your thoughts on tobacco use and women. I recently read a synopsis of Judith Mackay's keynote address at the World Conference on Tobacco and Health. In her address, she laments that the women's organizations and magazines have failed to present tobacco use as a feminist issue, despite the fact that smoking is on the rise among women. Women, and particularly women in developing countries, represent an untapped market of potential nicotine addicts for the unscrupulous tobacco industry. I was curious if you agree that feminists have failed to take notice of this issue, and if so why? I would also like to hear your thoughts on what a feminist approach might look like - Leslie

Thanks for your note to FEMINIST.COM--and my thought is that "Judith Mackay" is wrong. Why do you think we have any warnings at all about the dangers of smoking? This didn't come from the right wing, but from the women's movement who is concerned about women's health. I don't think you should be asking what "might" a feminist approach look like, but what "has" a feminist approach been.

Of course, the mainstream women's magazines aren't talking about the dangers of tobacco, they are dependent on them as advertisers. That aside, I don't usually look to these magazines for feminist content. Where I do look is Ms. Magazine--which doesn't take advertising and, therefore, isn't bound to this silence. Not only does Ms. not support tobacco companies in this form, but they have also published articles on the dangers of tobacco to women. I suggest you look to past issues to answer your question.


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