Introduction: Area-level indicators of socio-economic variation are frequently included in models of individual health outcomes. Area disadvantage is linearly related to smoking prevalence, but its relation to cessation outcomes is less well understood.
Aims: To explore the relationship between area-level disadvantage and prospective data on smoking cessation.
Design and methods: The Australian cohort of the International Tobacco Control Four-Country Survey (N = 3503) was used to prospectively examine the contribution of area-level socio-economic disadvantage to predicting three important smoking-cessation outcomes: making a quit attempt, achieving 1 month abstinence and achieving 6 month abstinence from smoking, while controlling for individual-level socio-economic indicators and other individual-level covariates related to smoking cessation.
Results: Only two independent associations were observed between socio-economic disadvantage and cessation outcomes. Area-level disadvantage was related to 1 month abstinence in a non-linear fashion, and the individual experience of smoking-induced deprivation was associated with a lower likelihood of making quit attempts.
Discussion: Despite the documented higher prevalence of smoking among the more disadvantaged and in more disadvantaged areas, socio-economic disadvantage was not consistently related to making quit attempts, nor to medium-term success. Nevertheless, indirect effects of disadvantage, like its impact on psychological distress, cannot be ruled out, and considering smokers' individual psychosocial circumstances is likely to aid cessation efforts.
Conclusion: Socio-economic disadvantage, particularly at the area level, poses few direct barriers to smoking cessation.
© 2012 Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs.