The International Handbook of Gender and Poverty
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The International Handbook of Gender and Poverty

Concepts, Research, Policy

Edited by Sylvia Chant

In the interests of contextualising (and nuancing) the multiple interrelations between gender and poverty, Sylvia Chant has gathered writings on diverse aspects of the subject from a range of disciplinary and professional perspectives, achieving extensive thematic as well as geographical coverage. This benchmark volume presents women’s and men’s experiences of gendered poverty with respect to a vast spectrum of intersecting issues including local to global economic transformations, family, age, ‘race’, migration, assets, paid and unpaid work, health, sexuality, human rights, and conflict and violence.
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Chapter 52: Women’s Smoking and Social Disadvantage

Hilary Graham


Hilary Graham Introduction A hundred years ago, few people smoked cigarettes and those who did were well-off men from high-income countries like the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK). Today, cigarettes are a global commodity, and poor women make up an increasing proportion of the smoking population. Between then and now lies the history of an everyday habit which has become a global killer and a major reason why death rates are higher among poorer groups in a range of countries. The chapter begins by discussing how the economic and social changes of the last century have exposed populations to new risk factors which, as they enter and take hold of society, typically change their social profile. It then outlines the changing patterns of cigarette smoking over time and across societies before looking in more depth at the links between social disadvantage and cigarette smoking among women. While the primary focus is on high-income societies, a central theme is that the patterns evident in these countries are set to be repeated on a global scale. Changing societies, new causes of death The twentieth century saw rapid changes in major causes of death, both in high-income countries and worldwide. In particular, chronic diseases like heart disease and lung cancer emerged as ‘the big killers’, a trend linked to the disruption of long-established ways of life which accompanied the process of urbanisation. First in high-income countries and now in emerging economies, the transition from an agriculture-based economy to one based...

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