A cross-sectional analysis of ex-smokers and characteristics associated with quitting smoking: The Polish Norwegian Study (PONS)

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Tobacco smoking remains a number one preventable risk factor of premature death worldwide. Findings of recent research show concurrent trends of lung cancer deaths in males and females in Europe. Although lung cancer death rates are consistently decreasing in male population, in women an upward trend is observed. The burden of tobacco-related harm can be prevented by smoking cessation. The main goal of this analysis is to identify the crucial correlates of successful smoking cessation in the middle-aged Polish population. The data came from 13 172 survey participants south-eastern part of Poland as part of the PONS cohort study established in 2010. A total of 6998 records of those who were either ex-smokers or current smokers at baseline were analyzed. We applied logistic regression and adjusted for sociodemographic covariates and health determinants. Characteristics related to being an ex-smoker as opposed to a current smoker included: older age [men: odds ratio (OR)=1.03, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.01–1.05; women: OR=1.05, 95% CI=1.03–1.07], being married or living together, having secondary (OR=1.51, 95% CI=1.14–1.99) or higher (OR=2.30, 95% CI=1.75–3.18) education (women), full-time employment (men), alcohol consumer (women), being overweight (men: OR=2.85, 95% CI=2.26–3.59; women: OR=1.60, 95% CI=1.36–1.87) or obese (men: OR=3.47, 95% CI=2.67–4.51; women: OR=2.99, 95% CI=2.45–3.65), having normal fasting glucose and cholesterol blood level without any treatment (women), assessing their own health highly (9–10, on the scale from 1 to 10) and having at least one accompanying chronic disease (women, OR=1.25, 95% CI=1.07–1.45). These findings provide valuable information on characteristics of ex-smokers as well as behavioral and sociodemographic predictors of successful cessation. Such data expand our knowledge and can be used to design a more comprehensive and targeted group-specific tobacco control policy focused on increasing the number of ex-smokers.

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