Objectives: We assessed social disparities in the prevalence of overall tobacco use, smoking, and smokeless tobacco use in Mumbai, India, by examining occupation-, education-, and gender-specific patterns.
Methods: Data were derived from a cross-sectional survey conducted between 1992 and 1994 as the baseline for the Mumbai Cohort Study (n=81837).
Results: Odds ratios (ORs) for overall tobacco use according to education level (after adjustment for age and occupation) showed a strong gradient; risks were higher among illiterate participants (male OR = 7.38, female OR = 20.95) than among college educated participants. After age and education had been controlled, odds of tobacco use were also significant according to occupation; unskilled male workers (OR = 1.66), male service workers (OR = 1.32), and unemployed individuals (male OR = 1.84, female OR = 1.95) were more at risk than professionals. The steepest education- and occupation-specific gradients were observed among male bidi smokers and female smokeless tobacco users.
Conclusions: The results of this study indicate that education and occupation have important simultaneous and independent relationships with tobacco use that require attention from policymakers and researchers alike.