Background: Previous studies report on smoking in Iran but recent national data on tobacco use (including cigarette, water-pipe and pipe) have not been reported.
Methods: In 2007, 5287 Iranians aged 15 to 64 years were sampled from all provinces as part of a national cross-sectional survey of non-communicable disease (NCD) risk factors. Data were collected using the standardized stepwise protocol for NCD risk factor surveillance of the World Health Organization. Use of tobacco products was calculated as the sum of smoking cigarettes/cigars (smoking currently or daily any amount of factory/hand-made cigarettes or cigars), pipes (daily), and water pipes (daily).
Results: Total current and daily tobacco use were 14.8% (burden: 7.3 million) and 13.7% (burden: 6.7 million) when extrapolated to the Iranian population aged 15-64. The prevalence of current and daily cigarette smoking was 12.5% (6.1 million; 23.4% males and 1.4% females) and 11.3% (5.6 million; 21.4 males and 1.4 females); former smokers comprised 1.7 million or 3.4% of the Iranian population (6.2% males and 0.6% females; mean cessation age: 34.1). The mean age of starting to smoke was 20.5 years (24.2 males and 20.4 females). The prevalence of water-pipe smoking was 2.7% (burden: 1.3 million; 3.5% males and 1.9% females). Water-pipe smokers used it on average 3.5 times per day (2.8 males and 4.5 females).
Conclusion: The prevalence of tobacco use has not escalated over the two past decades. Nonetheless, the burden is high and therefore warrants preventive public health policies.
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