Introduction: Although tobacco smoking prevalence in the adult Brazilian population is monitored through population-based surveys, the majority of findings come from studies undertaken in urban areas. Therefore, very little is known about tobacco smoking prevalence and associated factors among the elderly living in rural Brazilian areas. As such, this study aims to assess tobacco smoking prevalence and associated factors among elderly people in the rural area of the municipality ofRio Grande, state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional population-based study conducted with individuals aged 60 or over, resident in the rural area of the municipality of Rio Grande, RS. Tobacco smoking prevalence was calculated according to each category of the independent variables of interest using Fisher’s exact test. Crude and adjusted Poisson regression following a hierarchical analysis model was used to analyze associated factors.
Results: 13.2% of the elderly were smokers and 33.8% were former smokers. 66.9% of smokers had smoked for 41 years or more and 14.4% smoked 21 or more cigarettes a day. Following the adjusted analysis, factors associated with smoking were being of the male sex (PR:2.23 CI:1.56-3.17), being in the 60-69 year age range (PR: 2.65 CI: 1.47-4.80), having black/brown skin colour (PR: 1.99 CI: 1.34-2.93) and being single/separated (PR: 1.61 CI: 1.15-2.25). Practicing the evangelical religion was a protection factor.
Conclusions: Despite the prevalence of tobacco smokingfound in this study being similar to other national studies with the elderly, tobacco use is still considerable and is among the main causes of avoidable diseases. The importance of this study therefore lies in its being the first conducted with elderly people living in the rural area of the municipality and its findings can become a tool for planning actions or public policies aimed at promoting behavioural changes that reduce risk factors associated with tobacco smoking among the elderly in rural areas.