Background: An increasing percentage of smokers are quitting this unhealthy behavior during their life course. The aim of this study is to analyze which social factors play an important role regarding ex-smoking in Germany.
Methods: Data were derived from the 1995 German Microcensus, which is a representative survey for the population in Germany. Included in the analysis were 44,553 current smokers and 23,780 ex-smokers. The independent variables were education, occupational status, family status, unemployment/social welfare, household income, and community size. A two-stage statistical modeling procedure was used, initially to assess the most important effects of the independent variables on smoking cessation and secondly, to analyze the cumulative effects of the independent variables.
Results: The most striking effects observed for smoking cessation were family status and education. For example, in males aged 30 to 49 years, the percentages of ex-smokers of all ever smokers were 44.7% for married males with high education compared with only 14.6% for males with low education. The corresponding percentages for females were 44.0% and 17.6%.
Conclusions: Such striking differences in the social polarization of smoking cessation in Germany demonstrate the importance of anti-smoking policies and new strategies that avoid a further increase in the social inequality of smoking behavior.