Tobacco consumption: Examining age and sex patterns across countries
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<bold>Background:</bold> Tobacco is an important risk factor, resulting in 6.3 million deaths annually. Prevalence estimates are often used to quantify the impact of tobacco but do not capture the intensity of smoking. Tobacco consumption estimates often draw on production data at the national level. There are currently no robust estimates of tobacco consumption by age or sex across countries. <bold>Methods:</bold> Data from the Global Adult Tobacco Survey, World Health Organization STEPwise approach to Surveillance, and the World Health Survey were combined to estimate prevalence and consumption by age and sex in 103 countries. Survey-based consumption estimates were compared to national production-based consumption estimates from the US Department of Agriculture. <bold>Results:</bold> For both men and women, consumption increases with age and peaks in ages 45-54 before declining in the oldest ages. The peak in consumption is more pronounced in men than in women and men generally have higher consumption levels than women. There is a significant positive relationship between consumption and prevalence that is strongest for males and in younger ages. Production-based national consumption estimates and survey-based national consumption estimates are a fairly good approximation. <bold>Conclusions:</bold> Using the standard production-based national estimates of per capita tobacco consumption masks significant trends by age and sex which could be important to direct resource allocation, identify high risk populations, or inform public policy. Consumption estimates can supplement traditional prevalence measures to more thoroughly examine population exposure to tobacco.
- Global health