Smoking in Aborigines and persons of European descent in southeastern Australia: prevalence and associations with food habits, body fat distribution and other cardiovascular risk factors
As part of a population-base study of risk factors for heart disease, we aimed to establish the prevalence of smoking and to identify associations between smoking and other risk factors in Australian Aborigines (n = 306) and persons of European descent (n = 553) in two country towns. Smoking prevalence was first analysed as a dichotomy (current smokers compared with nonsmokers), and according to three levels of exposure (< 10, 10-20 and > 20 cigarettes per day), and two levels of nonexposure (never and former smoker). Other behavioural, biochemical and physical variables were included in multivariable analyses. Of the Aborigines, 64.4 per cent (95 per cent confidence interval (CI) 59.0 per cent to 69.8 per cent) were current cigarette smokers, compared with 22.8 per cent of non-Aborigines (CI 19.3 per cent to 26.3 per cent). For persons aged 13 to 54 years, using the five categories of exposure, smoking in Aborigines again far exceeded that in non-Aborigines in all age groups (for males chi 2 = 72.8, for females chi 2 = 94.6, 4 df, P = < 0.0001 for both sexes). In non-Aboriginal females, the highest prevalence was in the youngest group (56 per cent of those aged 13 to 17 years). Food habit was associated with smoking. Subjects who ate meat without trimming the fat were more likely to smoke. In Australian country towns, Aborigines and all young women need smoking cessation programs. The nutritional status of smokers requires further study.