The Irish Cancer Society has said a third of Irish women now smoke and more women are dying from lung cancer than breast cancer.

In a report published today, the society calls for action to tackle what it describes as a smoking epidemic among Irish women.

It claims that the tobacco industry is targeting women with specific marketing tactics designed to make cigarettes appear attractive and less dangerous than they are.

The society said it is concerned that more disadvantaged women are smoking and that lung cancer in this social group is almost twice as high as that among better-off women.

The report says that many women are aware of the health risks of smoking, but see it as a way to cope with the stress and pressures of life.

Kathleen O'Meara of the Irish Cancer Society said urgent action is needed to get women to quit.