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A Historical Review of Changes in Gender-Specific Social Norms and Tobacco Use by Women
J Korean Soc Res Nicotine Tob 2022; 13(1): 11-19
Published online March 30, 2022
© 2022 The Korean Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco.

Min Kyung Lim1, Seung Hoon Lee2*

1Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Inha University College of Medicine, Incheon, 2Department of Humanities and Social Science, Eulji University School of Medicine, Daejeon, Korea
Correspondence to: 씠듅썕
쓣吏븰援 쓽怨쇰븰
Received February 28, 2022; Revised March 15, 2022; Accepted March 21, 2022.
This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, dis-tribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Big gender differences in the prevalence of smoking have continued since national statistics on tobacco use became available in Korea. However, smoking was equally widespread among men and women in the 17th century, when tobacco was introduced. With the development of social norms and systems based on 쁯atriarchy and 쁥ierarchy rooted in Confucian values, smoking became gendered as masculine, and women smokers were persecuted. The manufactured cigarette and westernized culture encouraged women to smoke as a symbol of feminism and freedom in the 19th century. In Korea, smoking by women was accelerated by tobacco company advertisements targeting women as potential consumers and the implementation of a tobacco monopoly by the Japanese colonial government for financial purposes. Abstinence from smoking was reinforced by the self-governing movement of Korean nationalist groups and Christian ethics and then propelled by the Japanese colonial policy of saving resources for war. The abstinence from smoking was considered a basis of virtue in women who were good wives and wise mothers, and it has been maintained until recently. Regarding the historical review on the change of women smoking affected by gender-specific social norms and policies as well as the current concern of potential room for women smoking with the under-reporting due to social stigma and increasing tobacco use by younger age groups, tobacco control policies without a gender difference, focus on addiction and harmful effects on health by tobacco use, offering cessation with tailored programs for women, and continuous monitoring of tobacco company marketing for women, including novel tobacco introduction, should be considered.
Keywords : Women; Tobacco use; Gender difference; Social norm; Control policy; Korea
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