Cigarette Purchasing Patterns, Readiness to Quit, and Quit Attempts Among Homeless Smokers

Nicotine Tob Res. 2017 Nov 7;19(12):1526-1530. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntw227.


Introduction: Cigarette purchasing patterns may be linked with greater readiness to make a quit attempt and more quit attempts among domiciled samples. However, little is known about the cigarette purchasing patterns of homeless smokers or their potential relations to quitting intention and behaviors. This study redressed this gap among a convenience sample of homeless adult smokers from a large shelter in Dallas, Texas.

Methods: Participants (N = 207; Mage = 43; 71.5% male) smoked ≥100 cigarettes over the lifetime and endorsed current daily smoking. Variables assessed included cigarette dependence (time to first cigarette of the day), monthly income, quantity of cigarettes most recently purchased, average money spent on cigarettes weekly, readiness/motivation to quit smoking, and the number intentional quit attempts lasting ≥24h in the past year. Regression analyses were conducted to characterize associations of cigarette purchasing patterns with readiness to quit and quit attempts controlling for sex, age, cigarette dependence, and income.

Results: Most participants purchased cigarettes by the pack (61.4%), and more than half the sample spent ≤$20 on cigarettes per week. Results indicated that spending less money per week on cigarettes was associated with greater readiness to quit (P = .016), even when controlling for income, cigarette dependence, and other covariates. Stratified analyses indicated that this association was significant only for homeless smokers reporting no regular monthly income.

Conclusions: Homeless daily smokers with no reported income who spend little money on cigarettes may make particularly apt targets for cessation interventions due to potential associations with quitting motivation.

Implications: Adults who are homeless smoke at greater rates and quit at lower rates than domiciled adults, leading to significant smoking-related health disparities among this group. Findings suggest that cigarette purchasing patterns are linked with readiness to quit smoking among smokers who are homeless. Results elucidate one of the myriad factors that contribute to tobacco-related disparities among this group and findings may have implications for cessation interventions in homeless shelters and other contexts where resources are limited.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cigarette Smoking / economics*
  • Cigarette Smoking / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Homeless Persons*
  • Humans
  • Intention
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Smokers*
  • Smoking Cessation / economics*
  • Smoking Cessation / methods
  • Texas / epidemiology
  • Tobacco Products / economics*