Chronic Airways Disease in Poland Recent Items: Risk Factors

Risk Factors
A number of the environmental risk factors have been identified for chronic respiratory diseases; however, little information is available on their presence and impact throughout the whole country. Nevertheless, for 2 of the most preventable risk factors—cigarette consumption, which is unquestionably a very important factor, and atmospheric pollution, which has a debatable impact but one of common interest—some data are available. The average number of cigarettes supplied per person aged 15 years and above increased continually from 2,500 in 1965 to 3,600 in 1979; then it dropped to 3,000 in 1983 and in the subsequent 3 years increased rapidly to 3,500 in 1986. itat on

The only available longitudinal data on the individual smoking habits came from the 13-year survey of the adult population of Cracow. It confirmed to a large extent the encouraging signs of a decline in the prevalence of smoking habits in men, which decreased from 65.3% in 1968 to 53.0% in 1981. However, less favorable was the evidence that smoking among women increased from 24.4 to 25.3%, and among women in the youngest age group (32-40 years in 1981) from 30 to 43%. The possible explanation of the gender-related dissimilarities in smoking habits might be that many social differences between the sexes are gradually disappearing, and, moreover, smoking by women may now be perceived as more socially acceptable than before. Another study on epidemiologic and psychosocial correlates of urban adolescent tobacco smoking demonstrated a slightly lower prevalence of the habit in 1985 than at the end of 1970s among boys but not among girls. It is apparent that the existing preventive programs have not been effective enough and should be modified and strengthened. The situation becomes even worse if one realizes that in Poland, a considerable proportion of cigarettes (about 50% in early 1980s) are not filter-tip, and their quality is very poor. The new policy and regulations regarding antismoking measures are currently a matter of interest of the Polish Parliament, which is expected to issue a special act in this regard.