PW 2206 The relationship between smoking habits and unsafe behaviour on the roads

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From the review of literature it is widely accepted that the use of a seat belt reduces the risk of death in road traffic by up to 65% and the use of reflectors reduces pedestrian accidents and death by 75%–85%. Careless behaviour on roads can increase the risk of a crash and serious injury. As smoking has been linked to risky behaviour, the aim of the study was to examine the relationship between self-reported smoking and road safety behaviour in Latvia.MethodsThe data of ‘Health behaviour among the Latvian adult population’ for four consecutive surveys for the years 2010–2016 were selected for analysis. T-test and logistic regression analyses were conducted to compare the unsafe behaviour of road users with others in terms of sociodemographic, health-related and behavioural outcomes.Results85.0% (95% CI: 84.4% to 85.6%) of 12 619 respondents used a seat belt in the front seat and 45.3% (95% CI: 44.4% to 46.1%) in the back seat; the overall use of reflectors was 44.3% (95% CI: 43.4% to 45.1%). 33.2% of respondents reported that they smoked every day; 66.5% of them placed no smoking restrictions in their car. Worse road safety behaviour was attributed to men, 15–24 (p<0.0001). After taking into account the effects of age and gender, individuals, who smoked every day were more likely to report that they never wore a seat belt in the front seat (OR=1.5; 95% CI: 1.1 to 2.2) or in the back seat (OR=1.2; 95% CI: 1.1 to 1.3) compared to non-smokers.The study indicates that not using seat belts can be consistent with other risk-taking behaviour such us smoking. Standard policies and campaigns may not be effective for individuals who do not use seat belts and a targeted approach may be more effective. Campaigns for using seat belts could be combined with anti-smoking campaigns.

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