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Did Finland’s Tobacco Control Act of 1976 have an impact on ever smoking? An examination based on male and female cohort trends
  1. S Helakorpi,
  2. T Martelin,
  3. J Torppa,
  4. K Patja,
  5. E Vartiainen,
  6. A Uutela
  1. National Public Health Institute (KTL), Helsinki, Finland
  1. Correspondence to:
 MSc S Helakorpi
 National Public Health Institute (KTL), Mannerheimintie 166, FIN-00300 Helsinki, Finland;


Objective: To examine patterns of ever smoking among Finnish adults by gender and birth cohort from 1978 to 2001, with special emphasis on the possible effects of the 1976 Tobacco Control Act (TCA).

Methods: The data were derived from independent, annual cross sectional postal surveys among 15–64 year olds (n = 91 342), average response rate 75%. For the analyses 13 five year birth cohorts from 1916 to 1980 were constructed. Birth cohort variations in ever regular smoking were first examined graphically, and then logistic models were used to test the impact of the TCA.

Results: Among men there was a decrease in smoking from older to younger cohorts. For women an increase in smoking was observed between successive cohorts. A clear decline in the prevalence of ever smokers concurrent with the TCA was found among both men and women.

Conclusions: The smoking behaviour trends across successive birth cohorts suggest the impact of tobacco policy in decreasing smoking initiation in youth. These findings thus support the acceptability and effectiveness of antismoking and smoke free policy measures in society.

  • smoking prevalence
  • smoking initiation
  • tobacco control
  • birth cohort

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  • Funding: none.

  • Conflicts of interest: none declared.

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