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Open Access Research article

Sports activity and the use of cigarettes and snus among young males in Finland in 1999-2010

Ville M Mattila123*, Susanna Raisamo3, Harri Pihlajamäki1, Matti Mäntysaari1 and Arja Rimpelä3

Author Affiliations

1 Research Department, Centre of Military Medicine, 00101 Helsinki, Finland

2 Department of Orthopedics and Traumatology, Tampere University Hospital, 33100 Tampere, Finland

3 School of Health Sciences, University of Tampere, 33100 Tampere, Finland

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BMC Public Health 2012, 12:230  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-230

Published: 22 March 2012

Abstract

Background

Studies of the relationship between sports activity and smoking among adolescents and young adults report contradictory results. We examined the association between sports activity (intensity and type of sport) and the current use of snus (Swedish snuff), cigarette smoking, and the combined use of cigarettes and snus (dual use) among young males in Finland.

Methods

Data were collected from 16,746 male conscripts who completed a survey during the first days of their conscription during the years 1999-2010 (median age 19 years, response rate 95%). Main outcome measures were self-reported daily/occasional use of snus, cigarette smoking, and dual use. The association between sports activity, type of sport, and several sociodemographic background variables was assessed using logistic regression analysis.

Results

Over the study period (1999-2010), the prevalence of cigarette smoking decreased from 42% to 34%, while snus use increased from 5% to 12%, and dual use increased from 7% to 13% (p < 0.001). Compared with no physical activity, regular competitive sports activity (defined as high-intensity sports activity) was positively associated with use of snus (odds ratio [OR] 10.2; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 7.8-13.5) and negatively with cigarette smoking (OR 0.2; 95% CI: 0.1-0.3). When stratified by type of sport in multivariate models, ice hockey was most strongly associated with snus use (OR 1.6; 95% CI: 1.4-1.9) and dual use (OR 2.0; 95% CI 1.8-2.3) compared with those not playing ice-hockey, followed by other team sports for snus use (OR 1.5; 95% CI: 1.3-1.8) and dual use (OR 1.8; 95% CI: 1.6-2.0) compared with those not participating in other team-sports.

Conclusions

Our results show a clear association between snus use and intensity and type of training. Team sports were associated with increased use of snus and dual use compared with no participation in team sports. These findings should be acknowledged when planning and implementing preventive strategies.

Keywords:
Young people/youth; Tobacco use; Snus; Smoking; Sports; Physical activity