The Social Patterning of Tobacco Use Among Women in Jordan: The Protective Effect of Education on Cigarette Smoking and the Deleterious Effect of Wealth on Cigarette and Waterpipe Smoking

Nicotine Tob Res. 2016 Apr;18(4):379-85. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntv111. Epub 2015 May 25.


Introduction: The presence of social inequalities in tobacco-use has been fully recognized in the international literature. Even though cigarette and waterpipe tobacco smoking (WTS) are prevalent in the Arab region, the literature has not addressed the social determinants of the impending tobacco epidemic. This study examined the socioeconomic patterning of cigarette and WTS among Jordanian women.

Methods: We analyzed pooled data from four waves of the Jordan Demographic and Health Surveys: 2002 (N = 5851); 2007 (N = 10 654); 2009 (N = 9879), and 2012 (N = 11 113). We specified logistic regression models to test the association between education and household wealth and the two outcome measures, cigarette and WTS, adjusting for other covariates. For each outcome, we ran time-unadjusted and time-adjusted logistic models.

Results: Cigarette smoking prevalence among Jordanian women remained almost constant (around 10%) between 2002 and 2012. WTS prevalence steadily increased from 4.1% in 2002 to 10.2% in 2012. Increasing education predicted lower odds of cigarette smoking, whereas increasing household wealth weakly predicted higher odds. As to WTS, increasing household wealth strongly predicted higher odds of use.

Conclusions: Among Jordanian women, increasing education is protective against cigarette smoking. Household wealth, on the other hand, exerts a deleterious effect on both forms of tobacco consumption, particularly WTS. This pattern shows that Jordan has not fully undergone the socioeconomic crossover in tobacco prevalence which characterizes high-income countries. Future control policies should aim to decrease prevalence but also preempt increasing social inequalities in tobacco use.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Educational Status
  • Family Characteristics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Jordan / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Smoking / economics*
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking Prevention
  • Social Behavior*
  • Social Class*
  • Tobacco Products / economics*
  • Young Adult