Introduction Tobacco use is a major public health problem worldwide yet it is not well-studied in the UAE. We aimed to study the prevalence and patterns of tobacco consumption among UAE nationals.
Methods We investigated 170 409 Nationals aged ≥18 years (46% males, 54% females) in a population-based screening program in Abu Dhabi residents from April 2008 to June 2010.
Results The prevalence of smoking was 24.2% in males and 0.78% in females and highest in males aged 20–29 (27.4%) and 30–39 years (28.2%). Mean age (SD) of smokers was 32.8 (11.1) years, 32.7 (11.1) in males and 35.7 (12.1) in females. The mean age of onset of smoking was 22.2 (7.8) years overall, 22.4 (8.3) in cigarette smokers, 20.9 (6.7) in pipe (midwakh) smokers, 23.9 (8.1) in shisha smokers and 23.5 (8.4) in cigar smokers. Mean duration of smoking for cigarettes, shisha, pipes and cigars was 11, 8, 9 and 11 years, respectively. After controlling for age and gender, smoking was associated with (OR, 95% CI): overweight (0.9, 0.89 to 0.96), obesity (1.1, 1.06 to 1.14), central obesity (1.04. 1.00 to 1.07), diabetes (1.08, 1.01 to 1.14), hypertension (1.1, 1.07 to 1.17), dyslipidemia (OR=1.4, 1.35 to 1.44) and family history of cardiovascular disease (OR=1.7, 1.54 to 1.77) but not pre-diabetes, past history of heart disease or stroke.
Conclusion Smoking is predominant among young males. The relatively young age of onset of smoking pipes (midwakh) is of particular concern. Comprehensive tobacco control laws targeting the young population are needed.
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