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Journal of Public Health

Year: 2009  |  Volume: 31  |  Issue: 3  |  Page No.: 326 - 334

Under-reporting of tobacco use among Bangladeshi women in England

M. A Roth, A Aitsi Selmi, H Wardle and J. Mindell



This study investigates the prevalence of under-reported use of tobacco among Bangladeshi women and the characteristics of this group.


The 1999 and 2004 Health Survey for England included 996 Bangladeshi women aged 16 years and above, 302 with a valid saliva sample and 694 without. The main outcome measure was the prevalence of under-reported tobacco use.


Fifteen per cent of Bangladeshi women with a saliva sample under-reported their personal tobacco use. Under-reporters were very similar to self-reported users except for being much more likely to report chewing paan without tobacco (47% versus 9%, P < 0.001). Under-reporters differed significantly from cotinine-validated non-users in most respects. Regression analyses confirmed that under-reporters and self-reported users were similar in age, education level and exposure to passive smoking. Under-reporters were older and less educated than cotinine-validated non-users. Both self-reported users [odds ratio (OR): 0.11, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.04–0.30] and cotinine-validated non-users (OR: 0.42, 95% CI: 0.20–0.89) were far less likely to report chewing paan without tobacco compared with under-reporters.


Contrary to our a priori hypothesis, under-reporters were not young, British-born, English-speaking women likely to be concealing smoking but resembled self-reported tobacco users except for being much more likely to report chewing paan without tobacco.

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