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Women, Tobacco, and Cancer: An Agenda for the 21st Century

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About 20 percent of U.S. women smoke and 170,000 die each year from smoking-related causes. Key U.S. health agencies, including the Surgeon General, the National Cancer Institute and the Department of Health and Human Services (in Healthy People 2010) have identified smoking cessation and prevention among women as major priorities. The Women, Tobacco, and Cancer Working Group is a multidisciplinary, public/private partnership, led by the National Cancer Institute. The group convened in Houston in February 2003 to respond to national priorities by recommending research agendas and ways to use research knowledge to prevent tobacco-related cancers in women. The seven breakout groups (Biology and Cancer; Addiction; Epidemiology and National Surveillance; Interventions for Prevention and Treatment; Awareness, Risk Perception, and Communications; Community and Policy Interventions; and Global Issues), developed strategies to serve five goals related to women and tobacco use: increase understanding of sex and gender differences in multiple aspects of tobacco use and addiction (Discovery); translate research findings into effective, evidence-based prevention and treatment programs and public health policies (Development); ensure widespread delivery of effective tobacco-control interventions (Delivery); engage and expand partnerships, networks and innovative research platforms (Partnerships); and improve national and global evaluation and surveillance of the harms of tobacco use and environmental tobacco smoke exposure (Evaluation and Surveillance).