To study and compare the utilisation of primary health care services among 46-year-old current smokers, ex-smokers and never-smokers, and to estimate the corresponding costs.
This population-based cohort study is based on the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966, which is a longitudinal research program in Finland's two northernmost provinces. The study is based on data collected at the 46-year follow-up, during which a total of 4997 individuals completed questionnaires on their primary health care service utilisation. Primary health care covered visits to both occupational and public health care (typically community health centres).
Current smokers visited primary health care professionals more often per year than never-smokers, regardless of gender (RR 1.24, 95Â % confidence interval 1.10-1.43 for men; RR 1.10, 1.01-1.22 for women). When primary health care services were categorised based on the type of service provided,Â current smokers of both genders were more likely to visit a dentist (RR 1.56, 1.32-1.84 for men; RR 1.34, 1.15-1.55Â for women) or a physician (RR 1.20, 1. 03-1.40Â for men; RR 1.15, 1.02-1.30Â for women) than their never-smoking counterparts (BMI adjusted for). For men, the total annual costs of primary health care visits were 28Â % higher for current smokers versus never-smokers (P