Objective: To determine the association between socio-demographic variables and smoking status in a national sample of Australians aged > or = 18.
Method: The data came from the 1995 National Health Survey (NHS), which was conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Information was collected from 20,165 females and 18,948 males using face-to-face interviews. The dependent variable was smoking status distinguishing regular smokers from occasional, ex-smokers and never-smokers. Multiple logistic regression was used to examine the association of smoking status with gender, age, marital status, region of residence, country of birth and three socio-economic measures.
Results: Analyses showed that gender, age, marital status, country of birth and socio-economic position were significantly related to smoking status. The odds of being a smoker were largest for respondents who were 20-34 years old, were not married, had a low socio-economic standing, and were born in the Middle East, southern and western Europe for men, and the United Kingdom/Ireland and western Europe for women. The results also revealed that the geographic measure of socio-economic status had a stronger association with smoking likelihood than the individual level indicators (education and income), suggesting the importance of the social environment.
Conclusion: There is substantial socio-demographic variability in smoking status.
Implication: Of groups identified as having higher smoking rates, the socio-economically disadvantaged groups have the highest priority for targeted campaigns.