University of Oulu

Oura, P., Rissanen, I., Junno, JA. et al. Lifelong smoking trajectories of Northern Finns are characterized by sociodemographic and lifestyle differences in a 46-year follow-up. Sci Rep 10, 16365 (2020).

Lifelong smoking trajectories of Northern Finns are characterized by sociodemographic and lifestyle differences in a 46-year follow-up

Saved in:
Author: Oura, Petteri1,2; Rissanen, Ina3,4,5; Junno, Juho-Antti6;
Organizations: 1Center for Life Course Health Research, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, PO Box 5000, 90014, Oulu, Finland
2Kerava Health Care Center, Metsolantie 2, 04200, Kerava, Finland
3Departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Oulu University Hospital, PO Box 50, 90029, Oulu, Finland
4Medical Research Center Oulu (MRC Oulu), Northern Ostrobothnia Hospital District, University of Oulu, PO Box 5000, 90014, Oulu, Finland
5Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, PO Box 85500, 3508 GA, Utrecht, The Netherlands
6Cancer Research and Translational Medicine Research Unit, University of Oulu, PO Box 5000, 90014, Oulu, Finland
7Research Unit of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, PO Box 5000, 90014, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.2 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2020
Publish Date: 2021-02-03


Smoking remains among the leading causes of mortality worldwide. Obtaining a comprehensive understanding of a population’s smoking behaviour is essential for tobacco control. Here, we aim to characterize lifelong smoking patterns and explore underlying sociodemographic and lifestyle factors in a population-based birth cohort population followed up for 46 years. Our analysis is based on 5797 individuals from the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 who self-reported their tobacco smoking behaviour at the ages of 14, 31 and 46. Data on sex, education, employment, body mass index, physical activity, alcohol consumption, and substance addiction were also collected at the follow-ups. We profile each individual’s annual smoking history from the age of 5 to 47, and conduct a latent class trajectory analysis on the data. We then characterize the identified smoking trajectory classes in terms of the background variables, and compare the heaviest smokers with other classes in order to reveal specific predictors of non-smoking and discontinued smoking. Six smoking trajectories are identified in our sample: never-smokers (class size 41.0%), youth smokers (12.6%), young adult quitters (10.8%), late adult quitters (10.5%), late starters (4.3%), and lifetime smokers (20.7%). Smoking is generally associated with male sex, lower socioeconomic status and unhealthier lifestyle. Multivariable between-class comparisons identify unemployment (odds ratio [OR] 1.28–1.45) and physical inactivity (OR 1.20–1.52) as significant predictors of lifetime smoking relative to any other class. Female sex increases the odds of never-smoking and youth smoking (OR 1.29–1.33), and male sex increases the odds of adult quitting (OR 1.30–1.41), relative to lifetime smoking. We expect future initiatives to benefit from our data by exploiting the identified predictors as direct targets of intervention, or as a means of identifying individuals who may benefit from such interventions.

see all

Series: Scientific reports
ISSN: 2045-2322
ISSN-E: 2045-2322
ISSN-L: 2045-2322
Volume: 10
Issue: 1
Article number: 16365
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-73334-3
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3142 Public health care science, environmental and occupational health
Funding: The NFBC1966 received financial support from The University of Oulu, Finland (Grant Nos. 65354 and 24000692), The Oulu University Hospital, Finland (Grant Nos. 2/97, 8/97, 24301140), The Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, Finland (Grant Nos. 23/251/97, 160/97, 190/97), The National Institute for Health and Welfare, Finland (Grant No. 54121), The Regional Institute of Occupational Health, Oulu, Finland (Grant Nos. 50621, 54231), and The European Regional Development Fund ERDF (Grant No. 539/2010 A31592). P.O. received financial support from The Research Foundation of the Pulmonary Diseases (Hengityssairauksien tutkimussäätiö), Finland, The Maire Taponen Foundation (Maire Taposen säätiö), Finland, The Jalmari and Rauha Ahokas Foundation (Jalmari ja Rauha Ahokkaan säätiö), Finland, and The Finnish Medical Foundation (Lääketieteen säätiö), Finland. The funding sources had no role in the study design; in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; and in the decision to submit the article for publication.
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2020. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit