Prevalence of heavy smokers in the year 2000 in the Province of Varese, Italy
AbstractBackground. Knowing the prevalence of heavy smokers (HS) by gender and age is a pre-requisite for bringing into effect public health measures against smoking-related diseases. Smoking prevalence data is available for the Italian Regions, however it is generally unknown for the Italian Provinces. Methods. In the year 2000 a survey of smoking prevalence was conducted by 47 general practitioners (GPs), by personal interview, in a large sample of the Varese Province population 45-74 years of age (28,034 subjects; 13,528 men, 14,506 women). Each surveyed subject was categorised either as ever HS (current/former smoker of at least 10 pack-years) or as non HS. The information on smoking habit collected by the GPs was anonymously pooled for analysis. Prevalence figures of smoking were tabulated by gender and by 5-year age-strata. Results. In the population 45-74 years of age the percentage of ever HS overall was 22.3% (34.4% of men; 11.0% of women). The prevalence of ever HS in both sexes combined progressively decreased with advancing age, from 23.6% (45-49 year stratum) to 19.5% (70-74 year stratum). Current HS were 24.5% of men and 9.5% of women. Conclusions. The year 2000 survey on smoking habit, showing 22.3% prevalence of ever HS in age range 45-74 years, is the first conducted in the Varese Province using a large population sample. The data on heavy cigarette smoking presented in this paper, stratified by gender and age, may be used to monitor changes in the smoking habit and in the incidence of smoking-related illnesses at the provincial level.
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