Tobacco addiction and smoking cessation in Austrian migrants: a cross-sectional study

BMJ Open. 2015 Jun 4;5(6):e006510. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2014-006510.


Objective: Recent observations revealed substantial differences in smoking behaviour according to individuals' migration background. However, smoking cessation strategies are rarely tailored on the basis of a migration background. We aimed to determine whether smoking behaviour and preferences for smoking cessation programmes differ between Austrian migrant smokers and Austrian smokers without a migration background.

Study design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting: Recruitment and interview were performed at public places in Vienna, Austria.

Participants: The 420 smokers included: 140 Bosnian, 140 Turkish migrant smokers of the first or second generation, as well as 140 Austrian smokers without a migration background.

Methods: We cross-sectionally assessed determinants of smoking behaviour and smoking cessation of every participant with a standardised questionnaire.

Primary outcome measure: The Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence.

Secondary outcome measures: Determinants of smoking behaviour, willingness to quit smoking and smoking cessation.

Results: Nicotine addiction expressed via the Fagerström score was significantly higher in smokers with a migration background versus those without (Bosnian migrant smokers 4.7 ± 2.5, Turkish migrant smokers 4.0 ± 2.0, Austrian smokers without a migration background 3.4 ± 2.3, p<0.0001). Bosnian and Turkish migrant smokers described a greater willingness to quit, but have had more previous cessation trials than Austrian smokers without a migration background, indicating an increased demand for cessation strategies in these study groups. They also participated in counselling programmes less often than Austrian smokers without a migration background. Finally, we found significant differences in preferences regarding smoking cessation programmes (ie, preferred location, service offered in another language besides German, and group rather than single counselling).

Conclusions: We found significant differences in addictive behaviour and cessation patterns between smokers with and without a migration background. Our results indicate a strong demand for adjusting cessation programmes to the cultural background.


Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Austria / ethnology
  • Behavior, Addictive
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina / ethnology
  • Counseling*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Emigration and Immigration*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Smoking / ethnology
  • Smoking Cessation / ethnology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tobacco
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / ethnology*
  • Transients and Migrants*
  • Turkey / ethnology
  • Young Adult