Volume 1248, Issue 1 p. 107-123

Socioeconomic status and smoking: a review

Rosemary Hiscock

Rosemary Hiscock

Tobacco Control Research Group, Department of Health, University of Bath, Bath, United Kingdom

United Kingdom Centre for Tobacco Control Studies (UKCTCS), United Kingdom

Search for more papers by this author
Linda Bauld

Linda Bauld

Stirling Management School, University of Stirling, Stirling, United Kingdom

United Kingdom Centre for Tobacco Control Studies (UKCTCS), United Kingdom

Search for more papers by this author
Amanda Amos

Amanda Amos

Centre for Population Health Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom

United Kingdom Centre for Tobacco Control Studies (UKCTCS), United Kingdom

Search for more papers by this author
Jennifer A. Fidler

Jennifer A. Fidler

Health Behaviour Research Centre, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, United Kingdom

United Kingdom Centre for Tobacco Control Studies (UKCTCS), United Kingdom

Search for more papers by this author
Marcus Munafò

Marcus Munafò

School of Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom

United Kingdom Centre for Tobacco Control Studies (UKCTCS), United Kingdom

Search for more papers by this author
First published: 17 November 2011
Citations: 995
Rosemary Hiscock, Tobacco Control Research Group, Department of Health, University of Bath, Bath, UK, BA2 7AY. [email protected]

Abstract

Smoking prevalence is higher among disadvantaged groups, and disadvantaged smokers may face higher exposure to tobacco's harms. Uptake may also be higher among those with low socioeconomic status (SES), and quit attempts are less likely to be successful. Studies have suggested that this may be the result of reduced social support for quitting, low motivation to quit, stronger addiction to tobacco, increased likelihood of not completing courses of pharmacotherapy or behavioral support sessions, psychological differences such as lack of self-efficacy, and tobacco industry marketing. Evidence of interventions that work among lower socioeconomic groups is sparse. Raising the price of tobacco products appears to be the tobacco control intervention with the most potential to reduce health inequalities from tobacco. Targeted cessation programs and mass media interventions can also contribute to reducing inequalities. To tackle the high prevalence of smoking among disadvantaged groups, a combination of tobacco control measures is required, and these should be delivered in conjunction with wider attempts to address inequalities in health.