Passing the “Torches of Freedom”: Smoking Behaviors of Women in Nepal

Kristina N. Piorkowski and Alok K. Bohara

Globally, men constitute a larger percentage of smokers than women, but the rate of women smokers is growing. Smoking is a feminist issue: there are unique consequences for women's health, well-being, and agency. Recently passed anti-smoking legislation in Nepal, which has the highest rate of women smokers in South Asia, omits gender-conscious recommendations, potentially diminishing the impact of the legislation on women's lives. Relying on the 2001, 2006, and 2011 waves of the Nepal Demographic and Health Survey, this paper expands the dialogue around women's smoking and places it at the forefront of research on women's health issues. The results indicate that for women in Nepal, formal education and visiting a health facility mitigate smoking behaviors, whereas being employed and living in certain regions promotes smoking behaviors. The aim is for this and the ensuing inquiries to change government anti-smoking legislation in order to improve women's health.

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