Objectives: To investigate gender differences in daily smoking prevalence in different age groups in southern Sweden.
Methods: The 2004 public-health survey in Skane is a cross-sectional study. A total of 27,757 persons aged 18-80 years answered a postal questionnaire, which represents 59% of the random sample. A logistic regression model was used to investigate the associations between gender and daily smoking according to age. The multivariate analysis was performed to investigate the importance of possible confounders (country of origin, education, snus use, alcohol consumption, leisure-time physical activity, and BMI) on the gender differences in daily smoking in different age groups.
Results: 14.9% of the men and 18.1% of the women were daily smokers. Middle-aged respondents were daily smokers to a significantly higher extent than young and old respondents. The prevalence of daily smoking also varied according to other demographic, socioeconomic, health related behaviour, and BMI characteristics. The crude odds ratios of daily smoking were 1.79 (1.42-2.26) among women compared to men in the 18-24 years age group, and 0.95 (0.80-1.12) in the 65-80 years age group. These odds ratios changed to 2.00 (1.49-2.67) and 0.95 (0.76-1.18), respectively, when all confounders were included.
Conclusions: For the first time in Sweden women have a higher prevalence of daily smoking than men. The odds ratios of daily smoking are highest among women compared to men in the youngest age group of 18-24 years and the odds ratios decrease with increasing age. The findings point to a serious public health problem. Strategic interventions targeting young women's tobacco smoking are needed.