Use of Smoking Cessation and Quit Support Services by Socioeconomic Status Over 10 Years of the National Drug Strategy Household Survey

Image credit: [Dyfi Valley Health]


Objectives The aim of this research was to examine the use of quit smoking services and support options in Australia with national survey data to determine whether use of quit smoking services and pharmacotherapy contributes to socioeconomic status (SES) differences in smoking.
Methods Analyses were performed with data from 4 waves of the Australian National Drug Strategy Household Survey between 2001 and 2010. The primary outcomes were the use of quit smoking services or pharmacotherapy. The main predictor variables used were measures of SES including the Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas, income, and education. Other sociodemographic variables were also examined.
Results There was no systematic SES difference in the use of services or support options, with some used more by high SES and some used more by low SES. Those with university education (odds ratio [OR] = 0.72; 95% CI = 0.56–0.93) were less likely to use prescription medication. Conversely, those with higher incomes were more likely to use patches, gum, or an inhaler (OR = 1.13; 95% CI = 1.01–1.27). Prescription medication was significantly associated with increased odds for recent cessation, although only among those with lower levels of education (OR = 2.50; 95% CI = 1.94–3.23). Those with higher SES had the greatest odds for recent cessation.
Conclusions The evidence suggests that low-SES smokers use quit services and support options equally compared with high-SES smokers; thus, access does not drive the SES differential in smoking. However, the findings are positive, suggesting that increasing the uptake of prescription medication may help increase cessation rates among low-SES smokers.

Nicotine & Tobacco Research 16(12)
Philip J Clare

Biostatistician at the Prevention Research Collaboration, University of Sydney.