Social patterning of individual health behaviours: the case of cigarette smoking
This chapter focuses on cigarette smoking as the individual health behaviour with the single largest impact on health inequalities. Drawing on data from the UK, a country where the smoking epidemic is now mature, the chapter first considers the nature and extent of the association of smoking with indicators of disadvantage, and trends in rates of current and ex-smoking by deprivation. It then estimates the contribution of smoking to death rates in different social groups, before addressing the question of why poor people are more likely to smoke and why they find it harder to give up. The final section outlines possible policy options to reduce smoking-induced inequalities.
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