Love Your Body Day
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Fact Sheet: Advertising and Health

"A primary reason that women and girls smoke and are afraid to quit is their terror of gaining weight — the tobacco industry plays on this in ad after ad."
Jean Kilbourne

"Creating the idea that independence was attached somehow to smoking or that it was a sign of rebellion to endanger your health has been the main purpose of cigarette advertising."
Gloria Steinem

"Tobacco, alcohol and fashion advertising are not only a health problem but also a political problem for women, because these industries contribute to stereotyping of women and discrimination against us."
Patricia Ireland

(excerpts from the NOW Foundation "Redefining Liberation" video)

Tobacco — Epidemic Disease for Women

  • An epidemic. "There is no better word to describe the 600% increase since 1950 in women's death rates from lung cancer, a disease primarily caused by cigarette smoking," says Surgeon General David Satcher in the 2001 report Women & Smoking (March 2001).

  • Smoking caused the premature deaths of 165,000 women in 1999. Smoking is the most preventable cause of premature death in this country (American Cancer Society).

  • Every day, 4,000 kids try their first cigarette and another 1,000 become regular smokers. One-third of these regular smokers will die prematurely... (Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, September 2006).

  • Tobacco advertising is on the increase and the target audience is KIDS. Marketing dollars are going to magazine ads and convenience stores, while over $20,000,000 has gone to political donations from tobacco interests since 1997 (Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, September 2006).

Body Image

  • More than 80% of 4th grade girls have been on a fad diet (Social Issues Research Centre).

  • The body type portrayed in advertising as the ideal is possessed naturally by less than 5% of females (Social Issues Research Centre).

  • The average weight of a model is 23% lower than that of an average woman; 20 years ago, the differential was only 8% (Social Issues Research Centre).

  • Each year the U.S. spends over $33 billion on weight-reduction programs, diet foods and beverages (

  • 95% of diets fail. (Barbara Cohen, Ph.D., "The Psychology of Ideal Body Image as an Oppressive Force in the Lives of Women," 1984)
  • Ads on TV and in magazines tend to suse the most idealized images of women—research has shown that exposure to these ads negatively impacts body image (Social Issues Research Centre).



Are you frustrated with the ads that you see in magazines? Would you like to let companies know how you feel? Send a message to companies that use women's bodies to sell everything but a product!

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