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The 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health

Building capacity for a tobacco-free world

July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, USA

Thursday, July 13, 2006 - 12:00 PM

Smoking Prevalence in Argentina-Results from a National Survey

Mario Osvaldo Virgolini, Paola Morello, MD, MPH, and Daniel Carlos Ferrante, MD. VIGI+A, Avenida 9 de julio 1927, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Objective: To assess the prevalence of tobacco use in Argentina and examine the influence of environment, smoking knowledge, beliefs and attitudes on smoking behavior.

Methods: In 2004, a survey was implemented in randomly selected households in 5 main cities in Argentina as part of the surveillance activities of the National Tobacco Control Program. Respondents were 13 years old or older. Among adults (age 18 and above), smokers were considered those who had smoked more than 100 cigarettes in their lifetime. In the 13-18 year old group, smokers were defined as those who smoked at least once in the last 30 days.

Results: The response rate was 80%. Overall, 51.6% of respondents were female, 71.7% were from low socioeconomic group and 48.7% were in the 25-49 age group. Almost 33% were current smokers. When considering only adults, smoking prevalence was 34.4% (38% males, 27.7% females). Among smokers, 75% were daily smokers and 23% smoked more than one pack per day. Tobacco use was higher among males from middle socioeconomic status. The age specific prevalence of smoking was highest in the 18-49 years age group. The two main reasons to begin smoking were curiosity and having friends who smoke. Overall, 92% believed smoking is not healthy. Less than 8% of current smokers had sought help to quit and only 50% had done so from a health care professional. Results from this survey are currently being used to evaluate tobacco control strategies at the national level.