Background: Tobacco smoking is an important public health concern worldwide leading to both chronic disease and early death. In Latin America, smoking prevalence is estimated at approximately 30% and prior studies suggest that the prevalence in Peru is 22% to 38%. We sought to determine the prevalence of daily smoking in a poor peri-urban community in Lima, Peru.
Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional survey in a random sample of adults ≥40 years of age living in Pampas de San Juan de Miraflores, Lima, Peru. We asked participants to respond to a survey that included questions on sociodemographics, tobacco use and dependence.
Results: We enrolled 316 participants. Average monthly household income was ≤ 400 USD and nearly all homes had running water, sewage, and electricity. Most individuals had not completed high school. Smoking prevalence was 16% overall, yet daily smoking prevalence was 1.9%. Former daily smokers comprised 3.8% of current nonsmokers and 9.1% current occasional smokers. Average scores for the Fagerstrom Test for Nicotine Dependence for daily smokers and occasional smokers were 1.5 and 0, respectively.
Conclusions: Daily use of tobacco is uncommon among adults in peri-urban communities of Lima, Peru, unlike their counterparts in Lima and other Latin American capital cities. Tobacco dependence is also low. Hence, efforts aimed at primary prevention are of utmost importance in these communities. This study provides an accurate baseline using an internationally recognized assessment tool (Global Adult Tobacco Survey), allowing for accurate assessment of tobacco control interventions over time.