Background: Southern European cultural specificities might influence the dynamic of the tobacco epidemic. Thus, we aimed to evaluate the distribution and determinants of smoking patterns in an urban Portuguese population.
Methods: We evaluated 1,644 community dwellers (1,015 women, 629 men) using a structured questionnaire, comprising social, behavioral, and clinical information. Number of cigarettes smoked, age at smoking initiation, and quitting were self-reported. Proportions were age adjusted for the European population and the magnitude of associations computed using logistic regression.
Results: Smoking was more common in younger, unemployed, normal weighted, and less physically active men. Female smoking prevalence was higher in younger, more educated, and overweight. Compared to females, males had a higher prevalence of smoking (35.0%; 95% confidence intervals [CI] 31.3-38.8 vs. 17.6%; 95% CI 15.4-20.1; P<0.001), a higher mean number of cigarettes smoked (21.2; 95% CI 12.4-15.0 vs. 14.1; 95% CI 19.6-22.6; P<0.001), and a higher proportion began smoking before 18 years of age (60.1%; 95% CI 55.5-64.5 vs. 42.6%; 95% CI 36.9-48.5; P<0.001).
Conclusion: Among Portuguese, adults smoking remains more frequent in men but the prevalence is reaching a disturbing proportion in women, especially young and more educated. This smoking pattern places Portugal in stage 2 of smoking epidemic.