Smoking and deprivation: are there neighbourhood effects?

Soc Sci Med. 1999 Feb;48(4):497-505. doi: 10.1016/s0277-9536(98)00360-8.


Debate has centred on whether the character of places plays an independent role in shaping individual smoking behaviour. At the small-area scale, particular attention has focused on whether measures of neighbourhood deprivation predict an individual's smoking status independent of their own personal characteristics. This study applies multilevel modelling techniques to data from the British Health and Lifestyle Survey and ward (local neighbourhood) level deprivation scores based on four variables from the national Census. Results suggest that after taking account of a large range of individual characteristics, both as main effects and interactions, together with complex structures of between-individual variation, measures of neighbourhood deprivation continue to have an independent effect on individual smoking status. In addition, significant between-ward differences in smoking behaviour remain which cannot be explained either by population composition or ward-level deprivation. The study suggests that the character of the local neighbourhood plays a role in shaping smoking behaviour.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Employment
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marital Status
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Social Class
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology