The Irish Cancer Society has claimed the tobacco industry is aggressively targeting women and girls in the hope of recruiting more smokers.

It has expressed concern that for the first time more Irish women are dying from lung cancer than breast cancer.

The society is hosting a conference in Dublin with the National Women's Council of Ireland to discuss what it calls a crisis.

The ICS said almost one in three women in Ireland now smoke and smoking is the main cause of preventable death and disease.

Current figures show that 29% of the population overall smokes. While 27% of women smoke, the figure increases to 41% in disadvantaged areas.

The level of smoking among young women in disadvantaged areas is at 56%.

The society claims the tobacco industry has developed brands and products specifically for women.

It says they have been packaged to appeal to women by linking tobacco products with the idea of glamour, sophistication and slimness.

Packs use feminine colours and names that are perceived as being more attractive and less harmful than other brands.

ICS Head of Advocacy Kathleen O' Meara said that 70% of smokers want to quit, but more behavioural and pharmacological support is needed especially in disadvantaged areas.

Figures show that more than half of disadvantaged women aged between 18 and 29 smoke, which is twice the rate of non-disadvantaged groups.