Changes in the prevalence and profile of ex-smokers in Catalonia, Spain
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Public Health Agency of Catalonia (ASPCAT), Barcelona, Spain
Open University of Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain
Publication date: 2022-07-05
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2022;8(Supplement):A36
Over the last few decades, smoking prevalence has been progressively decreasing both in Catalonia and in Spain as a whole. This trend is the result of a decrease in the number of young people and adolescents who start smoking, premature mortality, and smoking cessation by smokers. It is estimated that 60% of global smokers want to quit smoking and 40% try each year, despite the fact that only 30% of global smokers have access to adequate cessation services.

Our aim was to show the annual evolution of the prevalence and profile of ex-smokers among the general population of Catalonia (Spain) based on a series of population-based health surveys.

The Catalan Health Survey is a household survey carried out periodically on random samples representative of the general population aged ≥15 years. We analyze responses from subjects who declared themselves to be ex-smokers between 1994 and 2021, in order to calculate changes in the prevalence of exsmokers, their sociodemographic profile and other variables of interest.

In 1994, 30.34% of the population (41.9% of men and 20.4% of women) reported themselves as daily or occasional smokers, and 14.78% (23.8% of men and 6.9% of women) as ex-smokers. By 2021, smokers had decreased to 22.6% (26.6% of men and 18.8% of women) and ex-smokers reached 26.0% (32.2% of men and 20.0% of women). The prevalence of ex-smoking has been changing over time, not only according to gender, but also with respect to other variables such as age, education level and social class.

Smoking cessation has contributed significantly to the reduction of smoking prevalence in the Catalan population. However, the unequal distribution of smoking cessation contributes to increasing social and gender inequalities in health.