Smoking prevalence is higher among disadvantaged groups, and disadvantaged smokers may face higher exposure to tobacco's harms. Uptake may also be higher among those with low socioeconomic status (SES), and quit attempts are less likely to be successful. Studies have suggested that this may be the result of reduced social support for quitting, low motivation to quit, stronger addiction to tobacco, increased likelihood of not completing courses of pharmacotherapy or behavioral support sessions, psychological differences such as lack of self-efficacy, and tobacco industry marketing. Evidence of interventions that work among lower socioeconomic groups is sparse. Raising the price of tobacco products appears to be the tobacco control intervention with the most potential to reduce health inequalities from tobacco. Targeted cessation programs and mass media interventions can also contribute to reducing inequalities. To tackle the high prevalence of smoking among disadvantaged groups, a combination of tobacco control measures is required, and these should be delivered in conjunction with wider attempts to address inequalities in health.
© 2012 New York Academy of Sciences.