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Smoking among rural and urban young women in China
  1. Michael G Ho1,
  2. Shaojun Ma2,
  3. Wanxing Chai2,
  4. Wan Xia2,
  5. Gonghuan Yang3,
  6. Thomas E Novotny4
  1. 1University of California, Los Angeles, California, USA
  2. 2Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and School of Basic Medicine, Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, China
  3. 3China Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Beijing, China
  4. 4San Diego State University, San Diego, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Thomas E Novotny, Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University, Hardy Tower 119, 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, California 92186, USA; tnovotny{at}


Methods A survey of 11 095 urban and rural women attending high school or college, aged 14–24 years, in 6 Chinese provinces was conducted. Ever-smoking (ES), current smoking, established smoking and intention to smoke frequencies were calculated. Bivariate analyses were conducted to identify possible correlates of smoking, and those found to be significant at the p=0.1 level were included in a multivariate logistical regression model to obtain adjusted OR for correlates of ES.

Results ES prevalence was 20.1%, with urban female students (UFS) at 22.0% and rural female students (RFS) at 19.0% (p<0.01). Established smoking prevalence was higher among UFS than RFS (2.4% vs 0.9%, p<0.01). Similarly, current smoking prevalence was higher among UFS than RFS (4.2% vs 1.9%, p<0.01). The intention to smoke prevalence was higher among UFS than RFS (3.5% vs 1.7%, p<0.01). The majority were aware that smoking was harmful to health, but were less aware of specific diseases associated with smoking. ES was associated with awareness of cigarettes made for women (OR, 1.66, 95% CI 1.49 to 1.86) and thinking that they were less harmful than other cigarettes (OR 1.54, 95% CI 1.33 to 1.79). The strongest correlate of ES was low refusal self-efficacy (OR 6.35, 95% CI 5.32 to 7.57).

Conclusions This is the first report that having heard of women's cigarettes is a correlate of smoking among young Chinese women. ES among young Chinese women has increased in the last decade, and thus, specific prevention strategies need to be developed to prevent the tobacco epidemic from spreading among this vulnerable population.

  • Tobacco
  • smoking
  • women
  • China
  • youth
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  • Funding NIH.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the University of California, San Francisco.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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