Smoking and ill health: does lay epidemiology explain the failure of smoking cessation programs among deprived populations?

Am J Public Health. 2003 Feb;93(2):266-70. doi: 10.2105/ajph.93.2.266.


The resistance of disadvantaged groups to anti-smoking advice is remarkable. In relation to the study of differing cultures, there is a long-standing academic tradition assuming that behavior that may otherwise be difficult to understand is indeed rational within particular cultural contexts. Persistent smoking among the most deprived members of society may represent a rational response to their life chances informed by a lay epidemiology. Health promotion initiatives designed to reduce smoking among members of these groups may continue to fail unless the general health and life chances of such individuals are first improved.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health / ethnology*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Occupations / classification
  • Prevalence
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking Cessation / ethnology*
  • Smoking Cessation / statistics & numerical data
  • Smoking Prevention
  • Social Class
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology
  • Vulnerable Populations / classification
  • Vulnerable Populations / psychology*