Smoking is the largest single cause of preventable death and disease
in Australia. This study describes smoking prevalence and the
characteristics of rural smokers to guide general practitioners in
targeting particular groups.
Cross sectional surveys in the Greater Green Triangle region of
southeast Australia using a random population sample (n=1563,
participation rate 48.7%) aged 25–74 years. Smoking information was
assessed by a self administered questionnaire.
Complete smoking data were available for 1494 participants. Overall
age adjusted current smoking prevalence was 14.9% (95% CI:
13.1–16.7). In both genders, current smoking prevalence decreased
with age. Those aged 25–44 years were more likely to want to stop
smoking and to have attempted cessation, but less likely to have
received cessation advice than older smokers.
This study provides baseline smoking data for rural health monitoring
and identifies intervention opportunities. General practice is suited
to implement interventions for smoking prevention and cessation at
every patient encounter, particularly in younger individuals.
Tobacco smoking, a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, stroke, peripheral vascular disease, cancer and other diseases,1 is estimated to cost the Australian community $31.5 billion per annum,2 and was responsible for more than 15 500 Australian deaths in 2003.3
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