The Dominican Republic and the Marlboro Brand: A cigarette smoking survey and status report
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A survey of cigarette smoking in Santo Domingo was conducted among residents of 499 households in two neighborhoods. Residentes over 14 years old were classified as current smokers (34.6 percent), former smokers (11.3 percent), and never smokers (54.1 percent). Most of the 200 current smokers interviewed (83 percent) had started smoking by age 20, but over half (59 percent) were relatively ligh smokers, consuming 10 cigarettes per day. Remarkably for Latin America, smoking was nearly as common among women (32.9 percent) as among men (36.3 percent). Over 90 percent of the interview subjects disapproved of smoking by adults, the practice being considered undesirable by most because of its effects on health. Most of the adolescents interviewed viewed smoking as a mark of maturity (82.3 percent) and as "in" among their friends (53.7 percent). Even though few respondents understood the specific nature of health threats posed by smoking, health was the single most important factor motivating cessation. Most of the current smokers (78.0 percent) wanted to quit, and over two-thirds (67.5 percent) reported making at least one serious attempt to do so. Tobacco industry figures show that between 1962 and 1988 the total apparent cigarette consumption of the Dominican Republic rose 3.7-fold. Most of that increase was the result of promotion by Philip Morris, which now dominates the Dominican market. At present cigarettes are heavily advertised without health warnings and are sold to minors without significant restrictions. Such activities should be of particular concern in this and other developing countries with high fertility rates and young populations
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