Introduction and aims: Individual smokers from disadvantaged backgrounds are less likely to quit, which contributes to widening inequalities in smoking. Residents of disadvantaged neighbourhoods are more likely to smoke, and neighbourhood inequalities in smoking may also be widening because of neighbourhood differences in rates of cessation. This study examined the association between neighbourhood disadvantage and smoking cessation and its relationship with neighbourhood inequalities in smoking.
Design and methods: A multilevel longitudinal study of mid-aged (40-67 years) residents (n = 6915) of Brisbane, Australia, who lived in the same neighbourhoods (n = 200) in 2007 and 2009. Neighbourhood inequalities in cessation and smoking were analysed using multilevel logistic regression and Markov chain Monte Carlo simulation.
Results: After adjustment for individual-level socioeconomic factors, the probability of quitting smoking between 2007 and 2009 was lower for residents of disadvantaged neighbourhoods (9.0-12.8%) than their counterparts in more advantaged neighbourhoods (20.7-22.5%). These inequalities in cessation manifested in widening inequalities in smoking: in 2007 the between-neighbourhood variance in rates of smoking was 0.242 (P ≤ 0.001) and in 2009 it was 0.260 (P ≤ 0.001). In 2007, residents of the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods were 88% (OR 1.88, 95% credible intervals (CrI) 1.41-2.49) more likely to smoke than residents in the least disadvantaged neighbourhoods: the corresponding difference in 2009 was 98% (OR 1.98, 95% CrI 1.48-2.66).
Conclusion: Fundamentally, social and economic inequalities at the neighbourhood and individual levels cause smoking and cessation inequalities. Reducing these inequalities will require comprehensive, well-funded and targeted tobacco control efforts and equity-based policies that address the social and economic determinants of smoking.
© 2012 Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs.