Open Access Research article

Patterns and socioeconomic influences of tobacco exposure in tobacco cultivating rural areas of Yunnan Province, China

Le Cai1*, Xinan Wu1, Abhinav Goyal2, Yuntao Han1, Wenlong Cui1, Xia Xiao1, Jianhui He1, Keying Zhao1, Ying Song1 and Feng Jiao1

Author Affiliations

1 Cheng Gong New City, School of Public Health, Kunming Medical University, 1168 Yu Hua Street Chun Rong Road, Kunming, 650500, China

2 Emory University, Atlanta, GA, 30322, USA

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BMC Public Health 2012, 12:842  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-842

Published: 4 October 2012



This study describes the patterns and socioeconomic influences of tobacco use among adults in tobacco-cultivating regions of rural southwest China.


A cross-sectional survey was conducted in 8681 adults aged ≥18 years in rural areas of Yunnan Province, China from 2010 to 2011. A standardized questionnaire was administered to obtain data about participants’ demographic characteristics, individual socioeconomic status, ethnicity, self-reported smoking habits, and exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS). The socioeconomic predictors of current smoking, nicotine addiction, and SHS exposure were analyzed using multivariate logistic regression.


The prevalence rates of tobacco use were much higher in men compared with women (current smoking 68.5% vs. 1.3%; and nicotine dependence 85.2% vs. 72.7%). However, the rate of SHS exposure was higher in women compared with men (76.6% vs. 70.5%). Tobacco farmers had higher prevalence rates of current smoking, nicotine dependence, and SHS exposure compared with participants not engaged in tobacco farming (P<0.01). Most tobacco users (84.5%) reported initiating smoking during adolescence. A total of 81.1% of smokers smoked in public places, and 77.6% smoked in workplaces. Individuals belonging to an ethnic minority had a lower probability of SHS exposure and nicotine dependence. Individual educational level was found to be inversely associated with the prevalence of current smoking, exposure to SHS, and nicotine dependence. Higher annual household income was associated with a greater risk of nicotine dependence.


This study suggests that tobacco control efforts in rural southwest China must be tailored to address tobacco-cultivating status and socioeconomic factors.

Smoking; Exposure to secondhand smoke; Socioeconomic status; China