Context. In recent years various initiatives of prevention and social changes have been carried out that should have an effect on epidemiology of smoking in our area. Their real effect is little known, however, because of methodological changes in the existing population surveys. In this work the data on smoking in the last city of Barcelona health survey (ESBA 2000-01) are analyzed, with reference to the cumulative information obtained along 18 years from the first survey in 1983. Method. ESBA 2000-01 is an interview health survey carried out on a weighted sample with 10,030 people. Data relative to tobacco use are showed for people 15-year-old or older included in the survey, stratifyed by age, sex, and class. Consumption context variables are also showed, and the tobacco consumption quitting among people who have smoked is analyzed. Results. The proportion of daily smokers in the population over 14 years of age is 29 %, while that of former smokers is 21 % and 2.2 % in this population are occasional smokers. The prevalence is maximum in the 35-44 year-old group, and the prevalence is reduced drastically after this age. Stratified analysis by age, sex, and occupational category shows interesting differences among daily smokers. A strong gradient is observed according to occupational category in males. The situation is more complex in women. The typical smoker began when 17-year-old, and now consumes 16 cigarettes a day. Consumption is somewhat higher in males and is maximum in the 35-44-year-old group. Two-third of the smokers (65.7 %) want to quit smoking and more than one third (36 %) has attempted it along the last year. Almost half of somokers (48.1 %) have received advice to quit smoking from their physician. One of every four (24.9 %) smokers has been warned for smoking in some places. Almost half smokers are the only smoker in their home, and barely a third are the only smokers at work. The proportion of quitting increases with age in both sexes, and nowadays the differences in the probability of quitting smoking are few when the data are stratified by age groups. Conclusions. These results show the changing pattern of tobacco epidemiology in Barcelona: smoking is no longer the main behavior in no age and sex group, and the only social group in which more than half of its members smoke are 25-44 year-old not qualified worker males. This situation has occured because of two processes: an important proportion of early quitting (demonstrated even in young adults) and a decrease in the beginning of the habit. Real differences are not observed between males and females with regard to the probability of quitting smoking. These data correct recent estimates that could be influenced by methodological changes in the instruments used.
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