Cigarette smoking among a sample of PONS study subjects: preliminary assessment
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Department of Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention, the Maria Skłodowska-Curie Cancer Centre and Institute of Oncology, Warsaw, Poland
Department of Health Promotion, Food and Nutrition, Institute of Rural Health, Lublin, Poland
Laboratory of Functional Diagnostics, Institute of Rural Health, Lublin, Poland
European Health Inequalities Observatory, Institute of Rural Health, Lublin, Poland
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2011;18(2):215–220
To evaluate the prevalence, socio-demographic patterns and behavioural characteristics of tobacco smoking in a pilot group of PONS respondents.

Material and Methods:
Open-ended prospective cohort study conducted in Świetokrzyskie Province. A pilot group of subjects aged 45-64 years was examined. Data on smoking were collected with the use of the Health State Questionnaire administered by the CAPI method.

62.6% of males and 45.5% of females participating in the PONS study were ever smokers. In the male population, the percentage of current and former smokers were 19.8% and 42.8%. In females, these percentages were at the lower level of 15.3% and 30.3%, respectively. Self-reported data on smoking prevalence seem to be consistent with objective assessment of exposure to tobacco smoke (measured by carbon monoxide level in exhaled lung air), especially for non-smokers.

The analysis found substantial differences in the level of current and former smoking between PONS study and nation-wide surveys conducted in the adult Polish population. Percentages of current smokers in the PONS study are two or even more times lower, and the prevalence of former smoking is almost two times higher than among adult Poles. The above differences may result from social characteristics of the first group of PONS subjects and their health behaviours. PONS subjects who decided to take pat in the first phase of the study are proportionally better educated than a comparable age group of the adult Polish population, and therefore may be more health-oriented than respondents from the general population. Therefore, it is recommended that the next phase of the PONS study should promote and focus on the less educated inhabitants of the study areas, especially males.