Background: Although evidence has shown high prevalence rates of tobacco use in the general urban populations in China, relatively little is known in its rural population. The purposes of this study were to examine smoking patterns and sociodemographic correlates of smoking in a sample of rural Chinese male residents.
Methods: The study employed a cross-sectional, multi-stage sampling design. Residents (N = 4,414; aged 15 years and older) were recruited from four geographic regions in China. Information on participants' tobacco use (of all forms), including their daily use, and sociodemographic characteristics were collected via survey questionnaires and the resultant data were analyzed using chi-square tests and logistic regression procedures.
Results: The overall smoking prevalence in the study sample was 66.8% (n = 2,950). Of these, the average use of tobacco products per day was 12.70 (SD = 7.99) and over 60% reported daily smoking of more than 10 cigarettes. Geographic regions of the study areas, age of the participants, marital status, ethnicity, education, occupation, and average personal annual income were found to be significantly associated with an increased likelihood of smoking among rural Chinese male residents.
Conclusion: There is a high smoking prevalence in the Chinese rural population and smoking behaviors are associated with important sociodemographic factors. Findings suggest the need for tobacco control and intervention policies aimed at reducing tobacco use in Chinese rural smoking populations.