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Keywords:

  • Cessation;
  • general population;
  • longitudinal analysis;
  • smoking;
  • time preference

Abstract

Aims

Time preference describes how consideration of future events may affect present-day behavioural decisions. The aim was to establish whether time preference predicts smoking cessation in a longitudinal analysis.

Design

Secondary analysis of data from the Household Income and Labour Dynamics of Australia survey.

Setting

Australian community.

Participants

Members of the Household Income and Labour Dynamics of Australia survey panel, aged 15–64 years, who responded to at least four waves of data collection between 2001 and 2008, and reported any level of tobacco consumption at any wave.

Measurements

Smoking cessation was measured using a self-report questionnaire. Time preference was measured using self-reported time-period for financial planning. A range of socio-demographic and smoking-related covariates were controlled for.

Findings

A total of 1817 individuals were included in the analysis, representing 7913 separate observations. After controlling for socio-demographic and smoking-related covariates, the hazard ratio of quitting in those with longer versus shorter-term time preference (95% confidence intervals) = 1.28 (1.02–1.59).

Conclusions

Adult smokers with a longer-term time preference, who are more likely to consider future events when making present-day decisions, are more likely to quit smoking.