Smoking cessation advice has failed to engage women with messaging increasingly targeted towards men, said the president of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.
Reacting to the news that deaths from lung cancer are predicted to overtake breast cancer as the biggest cause of cancer death in European women in 2015, Ash Soni urged Public Health England to bring women into the stop smoking conversation.
Researchers from Italy and Switzerland estimate the number of deaths from lung cancer to rise to almost 10% from 2009 to 14.24 per 100,000 of the population, with deaths from breast cancer predicted to be 14.22 per 100,000 – a decrease of 10.2% since 2009.
However, the total number of deaths attributed to breast cancer will still be slightly higher than lung cancer at 90,800 compared to 87,500.
The high levels of death from lung cancer in women can be found especially in the UK and Poland, with predicted rates of 21 and 17 deaths per 100,000 in each country.
Professor at the faculty of medicine, University of Milan, Professor Carlo La Vecchia, said: “We still have to be cautious about the lung cancer rates in women since these are predictions. The data for real death rates in 2015 in the EU as a whole will be available in three to four years.”
Soni said: “We know although smoking rates have gone down, there has been an increase in smoking prevalence in women.
“Smoking rates have fallen in men and maybe that’s because the social messaging about smoking cessation has been more geared towards them.
“A conversation needs to be had with Public Health England about the messaging and how it’s relevant to women.”
Smoking cessation programmes in pharmacies are commissioned by local authorities. They are paid on how successful they are at helping people stop smoking. This can be assessed on the total number of quits compared to quit attempts and also on the speed of those that quit such as if smokers manage to quit in four weeks.