November 25, 2008

Readings: Smoking and Gender

Men are 15 times more likely to smoke than their female compatriots in China today, with the rate of male cigarette usage hovering around 60 percent, whereas among women it is less than 4 percent. The effects of these radically divergent smoking rates on mortality are unsurprisingly stark. By the early 1990s, tobacco was already responsible for 1 in 8 male deaths (compared to 1 in 33 for women). If current trends persist, by 2050 1 in 3 male deaths will be tobacco-related. Perhaps even more arresting, during the next fifty years, no less than 100 million Chinese men are likely to be killed by cigarette usage. One might expect that the cigarette-ravaged beneficiaries of what Connel calls the “patriarchal dividend” would be strong accelerants for popular protest. That has not been the case.
- Matthew Kohrman from Depoliticizing Tobacco's Exceptionality


Vanessa said...

I don't get it. What would Chinese men be protesting exactly and to whom? People making irrational choices motivated by some perception of their own gender role seems kind of hard to protest. What would you do other than stop smoking? I need more explanation of Kohrman's thesis to understand what point you're trying to make.

the unbeatable kid said...

actually, i was more interested in the gender disparities in smoking prevalence. there are a lot of cultures in which the men smoke much more than the women.

you can just ignore that lack of protest thing if you like.