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Soc Sci Med. 2003 Nov;57(9):1761-70.

Smoking and perceived health in Hong Kong Chinese.

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Department of Community Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, 21 Sassoon Road, Pokfulam, Hong Kong, China.


This population-based cross-sectional study examined the associations between smoking and perceived health in Hong Kong. 6117 healthy Chinese (3053 men, 3064 women), aged 25-74 years, were randomly selected for telephone interviews in Hong Kong in 1994-96. Adjusted odds ratios (ORs) of having poor or very poor perceived health (against good or very good) were calculated. In men, the ORs (and 95 percent confidence intervals) for current smokers in young (25-39) and middle age (40-59) were close to unity, but that of 1.97 (1.01, 3.85) in old age (60-74) was significantly raised. The adjusted ORs for male quitters were 1.98 (0.43, 9.14), 1.70 (0.75, 3.81) and 2.59 (1.23, 3.33) for young, middle and old age, respectively. Compared with current smokers, the adjusted ORs for quitters was 2.30 (1.07, 4.92) for those who had quit for less than 5 years, 2.02 (0.80, 5.11) for 5-9 years and 1.14 (0.47, 2.75) for 10 years or more. Among former smokers, each year of quitting was associated with 7 percent reduction in reporting poor or very poor perceived health with OR of 0.93 (0.85, 1.01). In women, the ORs were 1.95 (1.15, 3.28) for current and 1.54 (0.60, 3.94) for former smokers. In both genders combined, the overall ORs were 1.41 (1.04, 1.92) for current and 1.94 (1.27, 2.97) for former smokers. In conclusion, former smokers apparently had the worst perceived health but long-term quitting was beneficial. Overall, current smokers had worse perceived health than never smokers, but in men the excess risk was mainly observed in old age. The perceived health of smokers may have implications for the approaches used in smoking cessation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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