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The role of time preference in smoking cessation: a longitudinal analysis of data from the Household Income and Labour Dynamics of Australia survey, 2001–08


Correspondence to: Heather Brown, Institute of Health and Society, Baddiley-Clark Building, Richardson Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4AX, UK. E-mail:



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.


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


Australian community.


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.


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.


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).


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.

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