Background: To evaluate the effect of tobacco prices and the implementation of smoke-free legislation on smoking cessation in Spain, by educational level, across the period 1993-2012.
Methods: National Health Surveys data for the above two decades were used to calculate smoking cessation in people aged 25-64 years. The relationship between tobacco prices and smoking quit-ratio was estimated using multiple linear regression adjusted for time and the presence of smoke-free legislation. The immediate as well as the longer-term impact of the 2006 smoke-free law on quit-ratio was estimated using segmented linear regression analysis. The analyses were performed separately in men and women with high and low education, respectively.
Results: No relationship was observed between tobacco prices and smoking quit-ratio, except in women having a low educational level, among whom a rise in price was associated with a decrease in quit-ratio. The smoke-free law altered the smoking quit-ratio in the short term and altered also pre-existing trends. Smoking quit-ratio increased immediately after the ban - though this increase was significant only among women with a low educational level - and then decreased in subsequent years except among men with a high educational level.
Conclusion: A clear relationship between tobacco prices and smoking quit-ratio was not observed in a recent period. After the implementation of smoke-free legislation the trend in the quit ratio in most of the socio-economic groups was different from the trend observed before implementation, so existing inequalities in smoking quit-ratio were not widened or narrowed.
Keywords: Educational level; Smoke-free legislation; Smoking cessation; Spain; Tobacco prices.
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