Trends in cigarette smoking initiation and cessation among birth cohorts of 1926-1970 in Germany

Eur J Cancer Prev. 2005 Oct;14(5):477-83. doi: 10.1097/01.cej.0000174777.98518.7e.


This study examines temporal differences in cigarette smoking initiation and cessation among male and female birth cohorts of 1926-1970 born in Germany. Based on the German Federal Health Survey 1998 the sample is divided into a series of 5-year sex-birth cohorts, beginning with those born between 1926 and 1930 and extending to those born between 1966 and 1970. The final data file consists of a sample of 5110 people. Ever-smoking prevalence among men varies from 60 to 70% between the birth cohorts, while in women born 1926-1930 ever-smoking increases from 20 to about 50% in those born 1966-1970. A reduction of the median age at starting smoking also takes place between the cohorts. With 8.5 years this decrease is more incisive among women, compared with a drop of 2 years among men. Regarding cessation patterns the analysis shows a shift towards a shorter duration of smoking with succeeding birth cohorts, again this shift is more incisive in women. But even in the youngest cohort still more than 50% of ever-smokers smoke regularly for more than 25 years. In Germany tobacco-control activities are required in order to take antismoking actions that especially prevent youth from starting to smoke and that support smokers in quitting.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking / trends*
  • Smoking Cessation*