Updating UK estimates of age, sex and period specific cumulative constant tar cigarette consumption per adult

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BackgroundIn 1993 we presented age and sex specific estimates of cumulative constant tar cigarette consumption (CCTCC) per adult for five year periods to 1986-90. These were derived from annual surveys conducted for the Tobacco Manufacturers' Association (TMA) since 1946, extrapolated back to 1891 for men and to 1921 for women and corrected for the decline in average (machine smoked) tar levels. We now provide estimates for 1991-5.MethodsTMA surveys having ceased, 1991-5 estimates of manufactured cigarette consumption per adult (MCA) were derived from the General Household Survey (GHS) and corrected for the continuing decline in tar. These estimates were divided by 0.75 (men) and 0.80 (women), based on a comparison of GHS and TMA data for 1971-90, to allow accumulation with the TMA derived estimates prior to 1991.ResultsFor both sexes the GHS/TMA ratio of MCA varied little by age or five year period, justifying the use of the correction factors when adjusting GHS estimates for 1991-95. TMA estimates were higher than GHS estimates as only TMA sales-corrected their data for understatement of smoking and the surveys differed in questions on handrolled cigarette smoking. The 1991-95 data confirm the continuing decline in CCTCC at all ages in men. Women show a less steep decline for ages 30-64 and an increase for ages 65-84.ConclusionThe GHS data can validly be used to update the CCTCC estimates. Some reservations about the use of CCTCC are discussed.(Thorax 1998;53:875-878)

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