According to the estimation made by the World Health Organization (WHO), tobacco kills more than 7 million people each year. More than 6 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 890,000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke. In Taiwan, about 24,000 smokers died of smoking and nearly 2,600 non-smokers died of second-hand smoke each year. On average, one person lost his or her life due to smoke in less than 20 minutes. Based upon the increasing problems of tobacco use and related hazards, the Ministry of Health and Welfare and its former organization (the Department of Health) implemented the Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act in 1997 and has been promoting tobacco control policies since then.
To monitor the smoking behaviors and to provide references for assessing the effectiveness of tobacco control policies and strategies in Taiwan, the Health Promotion Administration (HPA) launched the Adult Smoking Behavior Survey in 2004. Till 2018, this telephone survey was conducted annually. To allow comparability of results with survey conducted in OECD countries, at the beginning, the survey targeted adults aged 18 and above.
Aim of the Survey
1. To understand smoking behaviors, second hand smoke exposure among people over the age of 15 in Taiwan.
2. To establish the nationwide and county/city-wide database of the smoking prevalence of people over the age of 15, and as references for future planning and evaluation of policies on tobacco control.
The sampling frame is based on the Chunghwa Telecom residential telephone directory. The sampling is conducted with the Random Digit Dialing principle, which selects the prefix firstly, and then randomly selects the last two or four digits of the telephone numbers with those selected area codes. After phone calls are answered, within-household sampling is conducted to pick up the qualified respondent.
This survey used the CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing) system which integrates the computer (both hardware and software) with the telephone system and is equipped with “Within-household Sampling” function. The specialist pre-programs the survey contents and the skipping rules of questions into the CATI system. The interviewers input and record respondents’ answers. The supervisors can monitor phone calls, and tackle possible errors so as to ensure each call complies with the standard operating procedure of the survey.
The telephone survey was conducted yearly from July to the end of September.
Data Processing and Analysis
The survey data were checked and cleaned before analysis. To ensure a well representative of the target population, post-stratification weighting is applied and goodness of fit test is used to determine whether the distribution of the respondents in gender, age and residence match the characteristics of the target population.
Results of the survey are published in the format of survey reports, news release, etc. Descriptive statistics are accessible from the interactive on-line querying at Health Indicator 123 (https://olap.hpa.gov.tw/en_US/index.aspx).