Kicking the habit is hardest for the poorest


Quitting smoking can really be difficult. If you are poor and uneducated, kicking the habit is even more difficult. In fact, doubly hard to do according to a new study by a tobacco dependence researcher.

Christine Sheffer, associate medical professor at The City College of New York’s Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education, has tracked smokers from different socioeconomic levels. She followed their progress after they participated in a statewide smoking cessation program offered in Arkansas.

No matter where they were on the scale, rich and poor managed to quit at the same when completing the program. They participated in cognitive behavioral therapy, with or without nicotine patches. As time went on however, a disparity in the ability to not light up began to show.

Those people with the least resources had a harder time resisting the temptation to smoke. “The poorer they are, the worse it gets,” said Sheffer.

Her research indicates that smokers on the lowest rung of the economic scale were 55 percent more likely than those at the higher end to start smoking again, only three months after successfully finishing the cessation program. By six months after the program conclusion, the probability jumped to two and a half times that of more affluent smokers.

They found that Americans with an income of $15,000 or less smoke at nearly three times the rate of those with incomes of $50,000 or greater. “Smoking is still the greatest cause of preventable death and disease in the United States today,” noted Sheffer.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, American Journal of Public Health

photo by John Nyboer


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