Aims: To determine the prevalence and characteristics of smokers who experience smoking-induced deprivation (SID), and to examine its effect on quit attempts, relapse and cessation.
Methods: Waves 2 and 3 (2003–5) of the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Survey were used, which is a prospective study of a cohort of smokers in the US, Canada, UK and Australia. SID was measured with the question “In the last six months, have you spent money on cigarettes that you knew would be better spent on household essentials like food?” A total of 7802 smokers participated in the survey in wave 2, of whom 5408 were also interviewed in wave 3.
Findings: The proportion of smokers who reported SID was highest in Australia (33%) and lowest in the UK (20%). Younger age, minority status and low income were associated with a higher probability of SID. Some of the other factors related to a higher probability of SID were higher level of nicotine dependence, having an intention to quit, and smoking to help one socialise or control weight. The relationship between SID and quit attempt was mediated by having an intention to quit and worrying that smoking would damage health and reduce the quality of life. The relationship between SID and relapse was mediated by perceived stress. SID was not associated with successful cessation.
Conclusions: Many smokers experience deprivation that is the result of their smoking. Strategies to reduce the prevalence of smoking probably effect a general improvement in standards of living and reduction in deprivation.
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Competing interests: None declared.
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