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Open Access Research article

Smoking-attributable morbidity: acute care hospital diagnoses and days of treatment in Canada, 2002

Dolly Baliunas12*, Jayadeep Patra2, Jürgen Rehm123, Svetlana Popova2 and Benjamin Taylor12

Author Affiliations

1 Public Health Sciences Department, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

2 Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Canada

3 Research Institute for Public Health and Addiction, Zurich, Switzerland

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BMC Public Health 2007, 7:247  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-7-247

Published: 18 September 2007

Abstract

Background

Smoking is one of the most important risk factors for burden of disease. Our objective was to estimate the number of hospital diagnoses and days of treatment attributable to smoking for Canada, 2002.

Methods

Distribution of exposure was taken from a major national survey of Canada, the Canadian Community Health Survey. For chronic diseases, risk relations were taken from the published literature and combined with exposure to calculate age- and sex-specific smoking-attributable fractions (SAFs). For fire deaths, SAFs were taken directly from available statistics. Information on morbidity, with cause of illness coded according to the International Classification of Diseases version 10, was obtained from the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

Results

For Canada in 2002, 339,179 of all hospital diagnoses were estimated to be attributable to smoking and 2,210,155 acute care hospital days. Ischaemic heart disease was the largest single category in terms of hospital days accounting for 21 percent, followed by lung cancer at 9 percent. Smoking-attributable acute care hospital days cost over $2.5 billion in Canada in 2002.

Conclusion

Since the last major project produced estimates of this type, the rate of hospital days per 100,000 population has decreased by 33.8 percent. Several possible factors may have contributed to the decline in the rate of smoking-attributable hospital days: a drop in smoking prevalence, a decline in overall hospital days, and a shift in distribution of disease categories. Smoking remains a significant health, social, and economic burden in Canada.