Objective To describe the prevalence of tobacco use among young Norwegian adults, 1973–1995.
Design Cross sectional personal and telephone surveys.
Setting Norway, 1973–1995.
Participants Population based samples of Norwegians aged 16-74 years.
Results A trend to a decline in tobacco use among young adult Norwegians during the 1960s and 1970s levelled out during the 1980s. Hence, the total prevalence of smoking in Norway decreased by only two percentage points from 1980 to 1993, as compared to approximately 10 percentage points in many other European countries. An increase in smoking prevalence (and in the use of snuff among males) in the age group 16-19 years has been observed in recent years. Thus smoking prevalence among young males and females in 1995 was comparable to that observed in the early 1980s.
Conclusions Trends in tobacco use reflect an underutilization of preventive measures in general, and health education measures in particular. Financial resources appropriated for health education and information were reduced by 90% during the 1980s.
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