To describe the prevalence and patterns of smoking among Canadian adults, the relation of smoking to other cardiovascular disease risk factors and the awareness of the causes of heart disease.
Population-based cross-sectional surveys.
Nine Canadian provinces, from 1986 to 1990.
A probability sample of 26,293 men and women aged 18 to 74 was selected from the health insurance registries in each province. Of these, 20,585 completed a questionnaire on smoking habits during a home interview.
Approximately 29% of the Canadian population 18 years of age and over were regular cigarette smokers, and over 13% of regular smokers smoked more than 25 cigarettes per day. The proportion of women who had never smoked was higher (37%) than men (24%), except for young women aged 18 to 24. For all participants, there was a lower prevalence of high blood pressure and overweight among smokers than non-smokers. The prevalence of sedentary lifestyle, diabetes and elevated blood cholesterol was positively associated with smoking. The proportion of subjects who identified smoking as a cause of heart disease was higher among smokers, and over 90% believe that heart disease is preventable.
Because smoking is positively associated with other cardiovascular risk factors, multifactorial and comprehensive approaches are needed in the implementation of cardiovascular disease prevention programs. Knowledge regarding the heart health hazards of smoking is high even among smokers. Motivational approaches that go beyond health risk messages are needed in cessation programs.