How does rate of smoking cessation vary by age, gender and social grade? Findings from a population survey in England

Authors

  • Jennifer Fidler,

    1. Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Cancer Research UK Health Behaviour Research Centre, University College London, London, UK
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  • Stuart G. Ferguson,

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Pharmacy, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
    • Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Cancer Research UK Health Behaviour Research Centre, University College London, London, UK
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  • Jamie Brown,

    1. Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Cancer Research UK Health Behaviour Research Centre, University College London, London, UK
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  • John Stapleton,

    1. Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Cancer Research UK Health Behaviour Research Centre, University College London, London, UK
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  • Robert West

    1. Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Cancer Research UK Health Behaviour Research Centre, University College London, London, UK
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  • Funding

Correspondence to: Stuart Ferguson, Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 26, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia. E-mail: stuart.ferguson@utas.edu.au

Abstract

Aims

To assess the incidence of long-term smoking cessation as a function of age, gender, social grade and their interactions.

Design and setting

Cross-sectional surveys of population representative samples of smokers in England.

Participants

A total of 24 094 ever smokers (≥21 and ≤60 years of age) participating in household surveys between November 2006 and February 2011.

Measurements

The ratio of long-term (>1 year) ex-smokers to ever-smokers was calculated for each age. Regression analyses were used to model the association between age and quit ratio, with the change in quit ratio by year of age n years versus all years up to n–1 years, yielding an estimate of the quitting incidence at that age. Analyses were conducted for the entire sample and then for the sample stratified by gender and social grade, and interactions assessed between these variables.

Findings

A cubic trend was needed to fit the data. The estimated quitting incidence between ages 21 and 30 was 1.5% (95% CI: 1.0%–2.0%), between 31 and 50 it was 0.3% (95% CI: 0.2%–0.5%) and between 51 and 60 it was 1.2% (95% CI: 0.7%–1.7%). Age interacted with gender and social grade: women and smokers from higher social grades had a higher incidence of quitting than men and those from lower social grades specifically in young adulthood.

Conclusions 

The incidence of smoking cessation in England appears to be greater in young and old adults compared with those in middle age. Women and higher social grade smokers show a greater incidence of quitting than men and those from lower social grades specifically in young adulthood.

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