Objectives: To analyse trends in smoking prevalence in Ukraine from three surveys conducted in 2001–5, and to explore correlates of observed changes, in order to estimate the stage of tobacco epidemic in Ukraine.
Design: Repeated national interview surveys in Ukraine in 2001, 2002 and 2005.
Main outcome measure: Prevalence of current smoking among the population aged ⩾15 years.
Results: The age-standardised prevalence of current smoking in Ukrainian men was 54.8% in 2001 and 66.8% in 2005. Among Ukrainian women, prevalence increased from 11.5% in 2001 to 20.0% in 2005. ORs for yearly increase in prevalence were estimated as 1.164 (95% CI 1.111 to 1.220) for men and 1.187 (1.124 to 1.253) for women, which implies that, on average, 3–4% of men and 1.5–2% of women living in Ukraine join the smoking population each year.
Conclusions: In Ukraine, smoking prevalence is increasing in most population groups. Among men, the medium deprivation group with secondary education has the highest smoking prevalence. Among women, while the most educated, young and those living in larger cities are the leading group for tobacco use, other groups are also increasing their tobacco use. Tobacco promotion efforts appear to have been significantly more effective in Ukraine than smoking control efforts. The decrease in real cigarette prices in Ukraine in 2001–5 could be the main factor explaining the recent growth in smoking prevalence.
- FSU, former Soviet Union
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Funding: The 2001 survey was funded by the World Bank and the WHO. The 2002 and 2005 surveys were funded by the Open Society Institute.
Competing interests: None.