Predictors of smoking initiation – Results from the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) in Poland 2009–2010

Dorota Kaleta 1,  
Department of Preventive Medicine, Medical University of Łódź, Poland
Department of Work Physiology and Ergonomics, Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Łódź, Poland
Department of Biopharmacy, Medical University of Łódź, Poland
Ann Agric Environ Med 2013;20(4):756–766
Introduction: Improving the access to information on determinants of the smoking epidemic is essential for increasing the effectiveness of tobacco control policies. While the statistics of smoking prevalence in Poland are available, data on smoking initiation and its social correlates are still poorly described. Objective: To investigate the association of socio-demographic indicators with regular smoking initiation among adults. Materials and method: Data from the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) on socio-demographic and smoking-related characteristics of respondents were used. GATS is a nationally representative household survey. GATS provided data on a representative sample of 7,840 adult individuals – 2,207 male and 1,321 female ever smokers. Logistic regression analysis was performed and the χ2 test for relevant calculations. Results: Among males, the regular smoking initiation rate was significantly higher compared to females (59.2% vs. 34.2%; p<0.01). Mean age of smoking initiation was lower in men compared to women (18.4±3.6 vs. 20.0± 4.7 p < 0.01). Lack of awareness on smoking health consequences was strongly associated with initiating of regular smoking among both genders (unaware vs. aware respondents: OR = 3.0 CI 2.3–4.0; p < 0.001 in men and OR = 3.07 CI 2.3–3.9; p<0.001 in women). Older age, vocational education and unemployment were associated with regular smoking initiation among men and women. Also, not being religious considerably contributed to increased likelihood of smoking initiation in women (OR = 4.4 CI 2.5–7.7; p<0.001). Conclusion: The results indicate that policies focused on preventing smoking onset among Poles are needed to reduce tobacco epidemic, with the ultimate goal of translating evidence into policy.