The American Medical Women's Association is beginning a nationwide campaign against smoking. In 1985, lung cancer overtook breast cancer as the leading cause of cancer deaths in women. The trend is expected to continue, with an estimated 41,100 lung cancer deaths in 1986. Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer deaths in men, with 87,000 deaths in 1985 and 89,000 in 1986. The campaign is the first concerted effort by women who are physicians to tackle smoking as a problem of particular concern to women. Besides lung cancer, smoking has been linked to heart attacks, cardiovascular disease, strokes, emphysema and problems related to pregnancy and childbirth, including low birth weight and an increase in the risk of miscarriage, premature delivery and neonatal death.
As part of the campaign, letters have been sent by the association to editors of women's magazines that
accept cigarette advertising, urging them to publish articles about the dangers of smoking. Leaders of the
140 branches of the women's association will attend training sessions on smoking prevention and aids to
quitting. Members on hospital staffs will be expected to try to have their institutions declared smoke-free
environments. Legislators will be lobbied by the association for a variety of antismoking measures.
Prevention programs will focus on adolescent girls, considered to be the most vulnerable to tobacco
advertising and whose group rates in smoking are declining more slowly than other groups.  (ae)
--Peter Montague, Ph.D.
Descriptor terms: cancer; tobacco; women; disease; birth defects; lung cancer; american medical women's association; legislation; advertising; statistics;