Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Poorest smokers face toughest odds for kicking the habit

Date:
January 24, 2012
Source:
City College of New York
Summary:
Quitting smoking is never easy. However, when you're poor and uneducated, kicking the habit for good is doubly hard, according to a new study.

Quitting smoking is never easy. However, when you're poor and uneducated, kicking the habit for good is doubly hard, according to a new study by a tobacco dependence researcher at The City College of New York (CCNY).

Related Articles


Christine Sheffer, associate medical professor at CCNY's Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education, tracked smokers from different socioeconomic backgrounds after they had completed a statewide smoking cessation program in Arkansas.

Whether rich or poor, participants managed to quit at about the same rate upon completing a program of cognitive behavioral therapy, either with or without nicotine patches. But as time went on, a disparity between the groups appeared and widened.

Those with the fewest social and financial resources had the hardest time staving off cravings over the long run. "The poorer they are, the worse it gets," said Professor Sheffer, who directed the program and was an assistant professor with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences at the time.

She found that smokers on the lowest rungs of the socioeconomic ladder were 55 percent more likely than those at the upper end to start smoking again three months after treatment. By six months post-quitting, the probability of their going back to cigarettes jumped to two-and-a-half times that of the more affluent smokers. The research will be published in the March 2012 issue of the "American Journal of Public Health" and will appear ahead-of-print online under the journal's "First Look" section.

In their study, Professor Sheffer and her colleagues noted that overall, Americans with household incomes of $15,000 or less smoke at nearly three times the rate of those with incomes of $50,000 or greater. The consequences are bleak. "Smoking is still the greatest cause of preventable death and disease in the United States today," noted Professor Sheffer. "And it's a growing problem in developing countries."

Harder to Stay Away

Professor Sheffer suggested reasons it may be harder for some to give up tobacco forever.

Smoking relieves stress for those fighting nicotine addiction, so it is life's difficulties that often make them reach for the cigarette pack again. Unfortunately, those on the lower end of the socioeconomic scale suffer more hardships than those at the top -- in the form of financial difficulties, discrimination, and job insecurity, to name a few. And for those smokers who started as teenagers, they may have never learned other ways to manage stress, said Professor Sheffer.

For people with lower socioeconomic status (SES), it can be tougher to avoid temptation as well. "Lower SES groups, with lower paying jobs, aren't as protected by smoke-free laws," said Sheffer, so individuals who have quit can find themselves back at work and surrounded by smokers. Also fewer of them have no-smoking policies in their homes.

These factors are rarely addressed in standard treatment programs. "The evidence-based treatments that are around have been developed for middle-class patients," Professor Sheffer pointed out. "So (in therapy) we talk about middle-class problems."

Further research would help determine how the standard six sessions of therapy might be altered or augmented to help. "Our next plan is to take the results of this and other studies and apply what we learned to revise the approach, in order to better meet the needs of poor folks," she said. "Maybe there is a better arrangement, like giving 'booster sessions'. Not everybody can predict in six weeks all the stresses they will have later on down the road."

"Some people say [quitting] is the most difficult thing in their life to do," said Sheffer. "If we better prepare people with more limited resources to manage the types of stress they have in their lives, we'd get better results. "

The research was funded by National Institutes of Health National Cancer Institute (R03 CA141995-01A1) and the National Center for Research Resources (RR 020146). The treatment program was funded by the Arkansas Department of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by City College of New York. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Christine E. Sheffer, Maxine Stitzer, Reid Landes, S. Laney Brackman, Tiffany Munn, Page Moore. Socioeconomic Disparities in Community-Based Treatment of Tobacco Dependence. American Journal of Public Health, 2012; DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300519

Cite This Page:

City College of New York. "Poorest smokers face toughest odds for kicking the habit." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 January 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120120184605.htm>.
City College of New York. (2012, January 24). Poorest smokers face toughest odds for kicking the habit. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120120184605.htm
City College of New York. "Poorest smokers face toughest odds for kicking the habit." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120120184605.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins