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Print version ISSN 1555-7960


VARONA, Patricia; CHANG, Martha; GARCIA, René G.  and  BONET, Mariano. Tobacco and alcohol use in Cuban women. MEDICC rev. [online]. 2011, vol.13, n.4, pp.38-44. ISSN 1555-7960.

INTRODUCTION: Tobacco and alcohol are currently the most widely consumed legal psychoactive substances in the world. They represent a heavy burden for health and society in almost all populations. Increasing consumption of both substances is a trend observed in women. OBJECTIVE: Describe the profile of women aged >15 years residing in urban areas of Cuba with respect to tobacco and alcohol consumption. METHOD: Basic information on tobacco and alcohol consumption by Cubans aged >15 years in urban areas was obtained from the Second National Survey on Risk Factors and Chronic Diseases (2001), a national descriptive cross-sectional study, the objective of which was to determine the frequency and epidemiological characteristics of the urban population's main chronic disease risk factors. Sampling design was complex stratified multi-stage cluster. Of a sample of 23,743 individuals, 22,851 were surveyed, representative of 6.8 million Cubans. A questionnaire and structured interview were used. Variables were tobacco and alcohol use, as well as sociodemographic factors: sex, age, educational level, skin color, marital status, type of full-time employment and perceived economic situation. Prevalence, with 95% confidence intervals, and male:female prevalence ratios were estimated. RESULTS: Women who smoked were predominantly aged 40-59 years; had completed less than university education; of black skin color; divorced; laborers, service workers or managers, and with a perceived economic situation as very poor. Women who consumed alcohol were predominantly aged 15-59 years, had at least middle school education, of mestizo or black skin color, of marital status other than widowed; there was no typical profile for occupation or perceived economic situation. Women who were both smokers and alcohol consumers were predominantly 20-59 years, of black or mestizo skin color, of marital status other than widowed; with no typical profile for educational level, occupation or perceived economic situation. CONCLUSIONS: The first nationwide socioeconomic profile of Cuban women using tobacco, alcohol or both constitutes a baseline for comparison to results of a new national study now under way, permitting evaluation of trends over time and effectiveness of prevention and control efforts.

Keywords : Risk behavior; risk factors; behavioral risk factor surveillance system; smoking; tobacco smoking; alcohol; alcohol consumption; psychoactive agents; prevalence; women's health; Cuba.

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