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09-12-2010 | Cardiology | Article

Smoking rates decline among French men not women


Free abstract

MedWire News: Study results suggest that smoking and tobacco exposure rates have declined by approximately 15% among French men, since the mid 1980s.

"In contrast, women have increased their exposure to tobacco during the same time period," say the study authors.

"These changes may have contributed to the decline in coronary heart disease (CHD) death in men but not in women," they add.

"The prevalence of smoking in men has been high for the past 60 years and is now tending to fall, whereas women only started smoking in large numbers much more recently," explain Jean Dallongeville (Institut Pasteur de Lille, France) and team.

The team analyzed the smoking habits of 10,680 French men and women (aged 35 to 64 years) during 1985-1987 (n=3760), 1995-1997 (n=3347), and 2005-2007 (n=3573). The researchers assessed each participant's tobacco exposure by questionnaire, and predicted smoking-related CHD mortality rates using the Systematic Coronary Risk Evaluation equation.

Writing in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation, the team notes a significant decrease in tobacco exposure from 40.0% to 24.3% among men between 1985-1987 and 2005-2007. Among women however, tobacco consumption increased from 18.9% to 20.0% from 1995-1997 to 2005-2007.

In keeping with the observed patterns of tobacco exposure, predicted CHD mortality rates during 1985-1987 and 2005-2007 fell by 10.0% and 15.0% among men aged 35 to 54 years and 55 to 64 years, respectively.

These rates increased during the same time period among women, however, with a 3.6% increase observed among women aged 45 to 54 years, and an increase ranging from 0.1% to 0.5% across all other age groups.

Dallongeville et al highlight that although overall figures for women appear discouraging, some favorable smoking habits, such as a decrease in mean number of cigarettes smoked per day and proportion of current smokers who tried to quit smoking, did occur among women.

The researchers say that their findings suggest that "health prevention is making progress" but more is required.

They conclude: "A continued decrease in consumption will be highly dependent on maintaining pressure on public opinion and governments for anti-tobacco initiatives."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Lauretta Ihonor

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