Scientific American, August 2000
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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's CDC Office of Women's Health, approximately 22 million adult women currently smoke cigarettes and more than , women die each year from smoking-related diseases. Yet, research has shown that popular women's magazines give little or no coverage to some of the most serious health conditions that result from smoking cigarettes Whelan, Popular magazines among African-American women from to also did not cover tobacco-related cancers Hoffman-Goetz et al.
In contrast to the shortage of health articles addressing the negative aspects of smoking, women's magazines were found to carry a high number of cigarette advertisements Krupka et al.
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More disturbing, however, was the apparent message of independence, self-reliance, attractiveness, and leanness of female smokers often portrayed in these advertisements. Additionally, those women's magazines that included cigarette advertisements were reported to have little or nothing to say about the hazards of smoking Warner et al.
Thus, the American Council on Science and Health ACSH evaluated a representative sample of women's magazines 12 women's magazines with a large female readership for the period from August through August to determine the quantity and nature of their health, lifestyle and fitness messages. We used as an indicator the magazines' acceptance of cigarette advertisements. We then assessed the presence of smoking-related messages in their articles and photographs. Finally, we evaluated the quality and nature of the magazines' health messages.
Of particular interest was how the magazines' coverage of the profound health problems associated with smoking, especially lung cancer, compared to that of other real or alleged health risks.