Effect of tobacco smoking on survival of men and women by social position: a 28 year cohort study

Gruer, L., Hart, C.L., Gordon, D.S. and Watt, G.C.M. (2009) Effect of tobacco smoking on survival of men and women by social position: a 28 year cohort study. British Medical Journal, 338, b480. (doi: 10.1136/bmj.b480)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b480

Abstract

<b>Objective:</b> To assess the impact of tobacco smoking on the survival of men and women in different social positions. <b>Design:</b> A cohort observational study. <b>Setting:</b> Renfrew and Paisley, two towns in west central Scotland. <b>Participants:</b> 8353 women and 7049 men aged 45-64 years recruited in 1972-6 (almost 80% of the population in this age group). The cohort was divided into 24 groups by sex (male, female), smoking status (current, former, or never smokers), and social class (classes I + II, III non-manual, III manual, and IV + V) or deprivation category of place of residence. <b>Main outcome measure:</b> Relative mortality (adjusted for age and other risk factors) in the different groups; Kaplan-Meier survival curves and survival rates at 28 years. <b>Results:</b> Of those with complete data, 4387/7988 women and 4891/6967 men died over the 28 years. Compared with women in social classes I + II who had never smoked (the group with lowest mortality), the adjusted relative mortality of smoking groups ranged from 1.7 (95% confidence interval 1.3 to 2.3) to 4.2 (3.3 to 5.5). Former smokers’ mortalities were closer to those of never smokers than those of smokers. By social class (highest first), age adjusted survival rates after 28 years were 65%, 57%, 53%, and 56% for female never smokers; 41%, 42%, 33%, and 35% for female current smokers; 53%, 47%, 38%, and 36% for male never smokers; and 24%, 24%, 19%, and 18% for male current smokers. Analysis by deprivation category gave similar results. <b>Conclusions:</b> Among both women and men, never smokers had much better survival rates than smokers in all social positions. Smoking itself was a greater source of health inequality than social position and nullified women’s survival advantage over men. This suggests the scope for reducing health inequalities related to social position in this and similar populations is limited unless many smokers in lower social positions stop smoking.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hart, Dr Carole and Gruer, Dr Lawrence and Watt, Professor Graham
Authors: Gruer, L., Hart, C.L., Gordon, D.S., and Watt, G.C.M.
Subjects:R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Public Health
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > General Practice and Primary Care
Journal Name:British Medical Journal
Journal Abbr.:BMJ
Publisher:BMJ Publishing Group
ISSN:0959-535X
ISSN (Online):1756-1833
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2009 BMJ Publishing
First Published:First published in British Medical Journal 338:b480
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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