Working class matters: socioeconomic disadvantage, race/ethnicity, gender, and smoking in NHIS 2000

Am J Public Health. 2004 Feb;94(2):269-78. doi: 10.2105/ajph.94.2.269.


Objectives: We sought to describe the burden of smoking on the US population, using diverse socioeconomic measures.

Methods: We analyzed data from the 2000 National Health Interview Survey.

Results: Overall, the prevalence of current smoking was greatest among persons in--and independently associated with--working class jobs, low educational level, and low income. Attempts to quit showed no socioeconomic gradient, while success in quitting was greatest among those with the most socioeconomic resources. These patterns held in most but not all race/ethnicity-gender groups. Finer resolution of smoking patterns was obtained using a relational UK occupational measure, compared to the skill-based measure commonly used in US studies.

Conclusions: Reducing social disparities in smoking requires attention to the complexities of class along with race/ethnicity and gender.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Health Behavior / ethnology
  • Health Surveys*
  • Humans
  • Income / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupations / classification*
  • Occupations / economics
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / economics
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking / ethnology
  • Social Class*
  • United States / epidemiology