Author(s): Villalb JR, Barniol J, Nebot M, Dez E, Ballestn M
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: Despite the growth of aids and of other causes of premature death, smoking is the main single cause of avoidable mortality in Spain. Given the addictive nature of tobacco and the difficulties experienced by many smokers to quit, the primary prevention of smoking is crucial. In recent years several initiatives have been developed to this end. The objective of this paper is to monitor smoking among schoolchildren by repeated surveys over a decade, to ascertain the impact of current interventions and to reorient them according to evidence. DESIGN: Cross sectional surveys over a decade, from 1987 to 1996, while several smoking prevention efforts were developed. Survey instruments were similar self administered and anonymous questionnaires. SITE: Schools in Barcelona (Catalonia, Spain). PARTICIPANTS: Around 1000 participants in each survey were selected through representative samples of 8th grade students (predominantly 13-14 years old), stratified by school type and size in each round. MAIN RESULTS: Ever smoking declined, specially for boys (global decline 12.4\%, p = 0.05). There is a clear and steady decline, statistically significant, in the proportion smoking in the month prior to the survey (global decline 50.5\%, p < 0.0001). The proportion of regular smokers declines from 1987 to 1994, and then is stabilized (global decline 23\%, p < 0.05). The proportion of daily smokers fluctuates, but globally it is the lowest of the decade in 1996. No changes are visible in the proportion who declare buying tobacco for personal use. DISCUSSION: From 1987 to 1996 several smoking indicators show a decline among 8th grade schoolchildren in Barcelona, Spain. The pattern suggests a decline in global smoking experimentation and in the intensity of experimentation, with a small reduction in the prevalence of regular use, while the small proportion of daily smokers at this young age does not change.
This article was published in Aten Primaria
and referenced in Journal of Pulmonary & Respiratory Medicine