Smoking patterns and readiness to quit: A study of the Australian Arabic community

Seham Girgis*, Armita Adily, Maria Jose Velasco, Frances L. Garden, Nicholas A. Zwar, Bin B. Jalaludin, Jeanette E. Ward

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Smoking cessation interventions have typically focused on majority populations who, in Australia, are English speaking. There has been an overall decline in the prevalence of smoking in the Australian community. However, there remains a relative paucity of useful information about tobacco use and the effectiveness of tobacco interventions among specific ethnic minorities. Objective To determine associations of tobacco use and tobacco control indicators for Arabic speakers seen in the Australian general practice setting. Methods: A cross sectional study in a consecutive sample of Arabic patients (n=1371) attending the practices of 29 Arabic speaking general practitioners in Sydney, New South Wales. Results: Twenty-nine (53.7%) of 54 eligible Arabic speaking GPs in southwest Sydney participated in this study. Of 1371 patients seen, 29.7% were smokers. Smokers were more likely to report poorer health (χ2=21.7, df=1, p<0.001); 35.7% reported high nicotine dependence. Dependence was more in men (χ2=11.7, df=1, p<001) and those who reported poorer health (χ2=4.9, df=1, p<0.03); 35.9% had attempted to quit in the previous year; 17% were in preparation stage of change; 42.7% recalled quit advice. Poorer self reported health status (AOR=2.13, 95% CI: 1.14-3.97, p=0.017) and unemployment (AOR=1.69, 95% CI: 1.51-4.90, p=0.033) were independent predictors of advice from a health professional, most often a GP (71%). Conclusion: Our study confirms previous reports that the proportion of self reported current smokers among the Arabic community is higher than for the Anglo-European majority. There is a need for ethno specific campaigns in tobacco control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-161
Number of pages8
JournalAustralian Family Physician
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes


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