Objectives: This study examined whether area-level characteristics are associated with individual smoking behavior among women.
Methods: Analyses included 648 women enrolled as control patients in the Carolina Breast Cancer Study (1993-1996). Smoking and covariate information was obtained from interviews. Area-level characteristics included census block-group education level, poverty, unemployment, car-home ownership, crowding, and, for 431 women, city-level crime rates.
Results: In multivariate logistic regression models, no area characteristics were clearly associated with a history of smoking. Among those who had ever smoked, continued smoking was associated with living in low-education areas (odds ratio [OR] = 1.7, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.0, 2.9), high-unemployment areas (OR = 1.7, 95% CI = 1.0, 2.8), and high-crime areas (OR = 1.6, 95% CI = 0.8, 3.2).
Conclusions: The present findings are consistent with a growing literature suggesting that area-level social and economic disadvantage influences individual smoking behavior.