Main Organiser

Julius Centre University of Malaya

Co-organiser

Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malay

Supported by

University of Malaya

A COMPARISON OF SMOKING BEHAVIOUR CHARACTERISTICS BETWEEN CAUCASIAN AND MALAY SMOKERS

Author

Robson N, Bond AJ, Wolff K

Institution

University Malaya, Kuala Lumpur and King's College London, London, United Kingdom

Abstract

Objectives: Smoking is a major public health burden worldwide but it has been reported that smoking behaviour differed by ethnicity. This study aimed to compare smoking behaviour characteristics between Caucasian and Malay smokers.

Methods: This study was a cross sectional survey involving 157 Caucasians and 60 Malays smokers. The survey data was collected using a structured questionnaire incorporating demographics and smoking history, assessment of nicotine dependence using the Fagerstrom Test of Nicotine Dependence and assessment of smoking behaviour using the Smoking Behaviour Questionnaire.

Results: All participants were males. Caucasian smokers (mean age 14.8 ± 2.8 years) started smoking at a significantly earlier age than Malays (mean age 16.9 ± 4.4 years) (p=0.001) and started smoking regularly at a significantly earlier age (mean age 17.3 ± 3.5) than Malays (mean 19.5 ± 4.5) (p=0.002). Caucasians were also significantly more nicotine dependent but there was no difference in number of cigarettes smoked between the 2 ethnic groups. As for smoking behaviour, Caucasians significantly smoked less for social integration than Malays (p=0.03) but Caucasians smoked more for regulation of negative affect than Malays (p=0.008). In contrast Caucasians smoked more for hedonism than Malays (p<0.001) but Caucasians were significantly less depressed than Malays (p=0.04).

Conclusion: The differences in smoking behaviour characteristics between Caucasian smokers and Malay smokers have public health implication in Malaysia, especially when planning strategies to promote smoking cessation and when adapting smoking cessation guidelines or therapeutic programmes established in Caucasians.