eISSN: 2450-5722
ISSN: 2450-5927
Journal of Health Inequalities
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vol. 2
Original paper

Trends in smoking among Polish and Norwegian youth 1986-2014

Leif Edvard Aarø, Joanna Mazur, Witold A. Zatoński, Oddrun Samdal

J Health Inequal 2016; 2 (1): 44–51
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Introduction: Norway was the first country to establish a comprehensive tobacco programme. The programme has included action and interventions targeting adolescents. Poland was one of the first among the former socialist countries in Central and Eastern Europe to establish comprehensive smoking control. From year 2000 collaboration with Norway on smoking control targeting adolescents was established. The aims of this paper are to compare smoking rates among adolescents in Poland and Norway in 2014 and trends during the period 1990-2014.

Material and methods: Data stem from the WHO Collaborative Study of Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC). School classes were used as the sampling unit. All age groups, 11, 13, and 15 year olds, were included in the comparison of 2014 (n = 7647). Only 15 year olds were included in the analysis of trends (n = 23 595).

Results: A substantial reduction in the prevalence of daily smokers among 15 year olds has taken place in both countries since 2002. In Poland, until 2010, the prevalence was markedly higher among boys than among girls. The proportion of daily smokers among Norwegian 15 year olds in 2014 is negligible (2.1% and 0.6% among boys and girls), and somewhat higher for Poland (10.0% and 9.6%).

Discussion: Establishing links between specific tobacco control action targeting adolescents and changes in trends is hardly possible with the kind of data available. The reduction in smoking among adolescents in both countries coincides with reduction in smoking among adults and with action targeting adolescents.

Conclusions: The strong reduction in prevalence of daily smokers among 15 year olds in Norway and Poland since 2002 probably represents a trend which covers a wider range of age cohorts, and may prove to reduce burden of disease substantially.

smoking, adolescents, Poland, Norway, trends

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