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Smoking among young rural to urban migrant women in China: a cross-sectional survey.



Rural-to-urban migrant women may be vulnerable to smoking initiation as they are newly exposed to risk factors in the urban environment. We sought to identify correlates of smoking among rural-to-urban migrant women in China.

Methods/principal findings

A cross-sectional survey of rural-to-urban migrant women working in restaurants and hotels (RHW) and those working as commercial sex workers (CSW) was conducted in ten provincial capital cities in China. Multiple logistic regression was conducted to identify correlates of smoking. We enrolled 2229 rural-to-urban migrant women (1697 RHWs aged 18-24 years and 532 CSWs aged 18-30 years). Of these, 18.4% RHWs and 58.3% CSWs reported ever tried smoking and 3.2% RHWs and 41.9% CSWs reported current smoking. Participants who first tried smoking after moving to the city were more likely to be current smokers compared to participants who first tried smoking before moving to the city (25.3% vs. 13.8% among RHWs, p = 0.02; 83.6% vs. 58.6% among CSWs, p = <0.01). Adjusting for other factors, "tried female cigarette brands" had the strongest association with current smoking (OR 5.69, 95%CI 3.44 to 9.41) among participants who had ever tried smoking.


Exposure to female cigarette brands may increase the susceptibility to smoking among rural-to-urban migrant women. Smoke-free policies and increased taxes may be effective in preventing rural-to-urban migrant women from smoking initiation.

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