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Prevalence of daily smoking continues to decrease in Ukraine

Kyiv International Institute of Sociology has conducted two surveys with the same wording of questions about smoking in May and October 2009.

The first survey was conducted May 21-31, 2009, the second –October 9-18, 2009. With the application of a probability (stochastic) sample representative for the adult population of Ukraine (18 years and older) 2008 respondents were interviewed in May, 2009 and 1997 respondents were interviewed in October, 2009 in all regions of Ukraine, Crimea and Kyiv. Statistical sampling error (with the probability 0.95 and design effect 1.5) does not exceed 3.3% for the indicators close to 50%, 2,8% for the indicators close to 25%, 2,0% - for the indicators close to 10%, 1,4% - for the indicators close to 5%.

Surveys demonstrate that maximum indicators of daily smoking prevalance among adult population of Ukraine (62,3% - amongmen, 16,7% - amongwomen, 37,4% - ingeneral) wereregisteredinJune 2005 before adoption of the Law of Ukraine «On measures of prevention and reduction of tobacco consumption and its harmful effects on the human health» in September 2005.

Since then the prevalence of smoking kept decreasing although the comparison of different survey data has some methodological difficulties. The analysis demonstrate that the questionnaires, where the respondents are asked only one question on weather they smoke or not, are able to measure only the level of daily smoking while in such surveys people who do not smoke every day usually say that they do not smoke at all.

This should be taken into account when comparing data of the like simple surveys with the data of more detailed surveys, which measure the prevalence of both everyday and occasional smoking.

Occasional smoking could become more common in recent years due to the reduction of smoking among former daily smokers and due to increased popularity of such tobacco products as cigars, hookahs, etc. Thus, a person who smokes hookah once a month or less can answer "yes" or "no" to the question whether he/she smokes at all while not considering such behavior as smoking. People who do not smoke every day have no nicotine dependence and often do not spend their own money to purchase tobacco products. Therefore, the dynamics of daily smoking prevalence is more important while analyzing the trends of tobacco epidemics and the level of tobacco consumption in the country, although any use of tobacco products is harmful to the health.

In May 2009 following indicators of daily smoking prevalence were registered: 49,4%% - among men, 8,8% - among women, 27,0% - in general. In October 2009 those indicators decreased respectively to 47,4% among men, 6,6% - among women, 24,8% - in general.

Following measures of tobacco control introduced in the country have contributed to the reduction of daily smoking prevalence among the population of Ukraine: gradual release of work and public places from tobacco smoke, increase in prices and excise duties on tobacco products, printing on tobacco packages extensive and varied warnings about the harmful effects to the health, providing aid to quit smoking in some hospitals.

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