BACKGROUND: There is a paucity of studies examining the relationship between smoking and elderly suicides. A recent cross-national study, using one-year cross-sectional data on suicide rates, reported an absence of an independent relationship between elderly suicide rates and the national prevalence of smoking. National aggregates of suicide rates can randomly fluctuate year on year and may lead to erroneous findings in cross-sectional ecological studies when only data from a single year are utilised. METHODS: The relationship between the national prevalence of smoking and suicide rates in both sexes in the age-bands 65-74 and 75+ years was examined using a one-year average of five years data on suicide rates using data from the World Health Organisation and United Nations Development Programme. RESULTS: On univariate analysis, the national prevalence of smoking in males was positively correlated with suicide rates in males aged 65-74 and 75+ years, but this relationship was absent in females. On multivariate analysis there was no independent relationship between the national prevalence of smoking in males and suicide rates in males in both the elderly age-bands. CONCLUSION: The findings of this study, using a one-year average of five years data on suicide rates and a more recent data set, suggests that the absence of an independent relationship between the national prevalence of smoking and elderly suicide rates was accurate and robust.
J Inj Violence Res. 2010 Jan; 2(1): 35-40. doi:10.5249/jivr.v2i1.44
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