Smoking among adult males in an urban community of Karachi, Pakistan

Document Type



Community Health Sciences


Smoking is the single most important avoidable cause of premature morbidity and mortality in the world. It is a major public health problem in Pakistan. The objectives of this study were to assess smoking status and its relationship to socio-demographic characteristics, and to determine the behavior of male smokers in an urban community in Karachi, Pakistan. A cross-sectional, household survey was conducted among 396 males, aged 15 years and above in January and February 2002. The overall prevalence of current smokers was 34%. By univariate analysis, the factors associated with smoking were younger age (15-29 years) (OR=4.2, 95% CI 2.1-7.3) as compared to older age (> 45 years), unmarried as compared to married (OR=3.1, 95% CI 1.9-5.4), educated for > 12 years compared to those with an education of 0-5 years (OR=2.0, 95% CI 1.2-3.3), and being student as compared to being an office/business worker (OR=3.2, 95% CI 1.8-5.4). The majority of smokers (55%) began smoking when younger than 25 years, smoked for more than 5 years (53%), smoked more than 10 cigarettes a day (55%) and smoked in public places (82%). Forty-two percent of the smokers used tobacco in other forms as well. Fifty-eight percent of smokers smoked to relieve anger and frustration and 30% smoked due to friend or peer pressure. In conclusion, smoking is a major problem in especially in younger age groups. There is an urgent need for health promotion and anti-tobacco education in combating the epidemic of smoking in Pakistan.


The Southeast Asian Journal of Tropical Medicine and Public Health