Objectives: To describe smoking behaviour, motivation to quit and quit rates, and the effect of advice and support for smoking cessation among smokers from more and less disadvantaged socio-economic groups in South Derbyshire, a mixed urban and rural area of central England.
Study design: Cross-sectional study.
Methods: A cross-sectional study with a random, stratified sample of people aged 25-44 years and people aged 65-74 years with over-sampling of populations living in disadvantaged areas. Main outcome measures included the proportion of smokers wishing to quit and quitting in the last year; reported advice to quit from family and friends and health professionals; and awareness and use of NHS smoking-cessation services.
Results: Over half of smokers aged 25-44 years, about one-third of women smokers and 40% of male smokers aged 65-74 years wished to quit. This varied little by socio-economic status. Quit rates were generally lower among smokers of lower socio-economic status (SES), especially among people aged 25-44 years. Smokers of lower SES reported slightly less advice to quit from family and friends, and more so from health professionals. Awareness and use of cessation services was about 30% and 5%, respectively, among smokers and recent quitters. Awareness varied little but accessing services was generally higher among smokers of lower SES.
Conclusions: Despite evidence that health professionals and cessation services were targeting smokers with lower SES and of similar motivation to quit, quit rates were lower. Broader tobacco control interventions targeting the social and environmental contexts that create and maintain socio-economic differentials in smoking are required.