Women, Gender and Tobacco Control

Vietnam has one of the highest smoking rates in the world. More than half of men smoke and two thirds of young children and half of women are exposed to secondhand smoke.  The home is often the setting where the highest exposure to secondhand smoke occurs for women and children.

who monitoring activities

WHO monitoring activities

Under the circumstances, to promote smoke-free homes is significant when TC programs have mainly focused on workplaces and public places. In Vietnam, CDS is the first organization raising high gender roles in TC activities.  CDS is partnering with the Women’s Union and the Health Centre to implement the “Women, Gender and Tobacco Control” project in Thanh Mien district, Hai Duong province.  In this project, gendered education and communication approaches have been used to increase public awareness about the dangers of tobacco use and the effective measures to reduce harmful effects of smoking and secondhand smoke. Specific skill-building programs and advice have been offered to enhance women’s power to make workplaces, public places and especially their homes smoke-free. Smoke-free homes protect women, children and other family members from secondhand smoke and further increase the likelihood that the smokers will successfully change smoking behavior or quit smoking.

By using advocacy, CDS has gained support and approval from local governments for smoke-free legislation. The education and communication activities carried out by local women and health professionals have increased public awareness on tobacco harm prevention and control. The support from local leaders and the close cooperation between the Women’s Union and the Health Centre in organizing and implementing the communication activities have contributed to the success of the project.

Gender roles not only affect exposure to secondhand smoke, but also enhance the power to establish non-smoking norms among the community.