The study titled, “Gender, Tobacco control policies, and persistent smoking among older adults: A longitudinal analysis of 11 European countries,” pooled participants aged 50 and above, with a smoking history and at least one smoking-related health condition, from the Survey of Health, Aging and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) and the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), in four waves from 2004 to 2013. The research team fitted gender-specific logistic regression models with two-way fixed effects (country and year) and tested interaction terms between gender, education, and TCPs.
Although women were less likely to smoke than men, they were more likely to smoke persistently. The effects of education and general TCPs on persistent smoking were significant for women only. Compared to women with low levels of education, those with moderate education (odds ratio [OR] = .63; .49–.82) and high education (OR=.57; .34–.98) were less likely to be persistent smokers. TCPs were associated with a reduced risk of women’s persistent smoking (OR = .70, .51–.95) and the association was stronger in those with a lower level of eduction.
Older women, particularly those with low levels of education, were vulnerable to persistent smoking, and TCPs were found to be effective in reducing persistent smoking for older women, with greater effects for less-educated women.
Japan’s male smoking rates drop
Meanwhile, a 2020 study from Japan which is known for its predominantly male smoking population, found that for the first time the local male smoking rate fell below 30% (at 28.8%).
Amongst the findings from the health ministry survey, was the fact that men and women in their 40s were found to smoke the most, at 37.6% and 13.4% respectively. Thankfully, the total 28.8% rate for males is down 2.3 points from the previous survey, which was carried out in 2016.
Conducted every three years by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, the national livelihood survey, also found that the female smoking rate decreased by 0.7 points to 8.8 percent.
When grouped by age groups, the biggest drops were observed amongst smokers in their 20s, with the ratio for men falling by 4.1 points, to 27%, and the ratio for women by 1.9 points, to 8.3%.