Objective: This study characterized longitudinal changes in cigarette smoking and purchase and cessation patterns among low-income smokers in New York State.
Design: Longitudinal tobacco use surveys were conducted in 2002 and 2005. Responses from the 2002 and 2005 surveys were compared among participants who completed both surveys.
Setting: New York State.
Participants: Adult low-income smokers (n = 274) were recruited from the Department of Social Services office in Erie County, New York, in 2002 and recontacted in 2005.
Main outcome measures: These included cigarette smoking, cessation and purchase behaviors, awareness and use of the Quitline, and participation in tobacco industry promotions during the 3-year follow-up period.
Results: During the 3-year follow-up period, 37 participants (13.5%) stopped smoking. Among smokers, the average number of daily cigarettes smoked decreased from 16.1 to 13.7 cigarettes (P < .01). There were significant increases in the proportion of smokers who reported that they had ever used a stop smoking medication (26.6% to 51.9%), had ever heard of the Quitline (32.5% to 73.0%), or had ever called the Quitline (4.2% to 11.0%). There was an increase in the use of tobacco industry coupons (41.1% to 59.3%).
Conclusions: Findings suggest that state and local tobacco control policies and programs are being increasingly utilized by this population; however, tobacco company price promotions are also being increasingly used, offsetting the public health benefit of the tobacco control policies and programs in this low-income population.