Financial strain, parental smoking, and the great recession: an analysis of the UK Millennium Cohort Study

McKenna, C. S., Law, C. and Pearce, A. (2016) Financial strain, parental smoking, and the great recession: an analysis of the UK Millennium Cohort Study. Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 19(1251), pp. 1521-1525. (doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntw269) (PMID:27707885) (PMCID:PMC5896540)

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Introduction: During the recent “Great Recession,” many families in the United Kingdom experienced increased financial strain (FS). The aim of this study was to determine if increases in FS, occurring over the period of the “Great Recession,” were associated with increased risks of persistent and relapsed tobacco use among parents. Methods: We analyzed the Millennium Cohort Study, a longitudinal study of 18819 children born in the United Kingdom between 2000 and 2002. Surveys at 7 (T1, 2008) and 11 years (T2, 2012) spanned the “Great Recession.” Three measures of increased FS were defined; “became income poor” (self-reported household income dropped below the “poverty line” between T1 and T2); “developed difficulty managing” (parental report of being “financially comfortable” at T1 and finding it “difficult to manage” at T2); “felt worse off” (parental report of feeling financially “worse off” at T2, compared to T1). Poisson regression was used to estimate risk ratios (RR), adjusted RRs (aRR), and 95% confidence intervals for three outcomes: “persistent tobacco use,” “new reported tobacco use,” and “relapsed tobacco use.” Results: Parents in households which “became income poor” over the period of the “Great Recession” were significantly more likely to report “persistent tobacco use” (aRR = 2.17 [1.83–2.57]) or “new reported tobacco use” (aRR = 1.72 [1.04–2.83]). Ninety-five percent of “new reported tobacco users” had evidence of prior tobacco use suggesting the majority were “relapsed tobacco users.” Similar patterns were seen for those who “developed difficulty managing” and “felt worse off.” Conclusions: Increased tobacco use among financially strained families has the potential to widen inequalities and undermine the public health policies that have had positive impacts on tobacco consumption in the United Kingdom.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Research at the UCL Institute of Child Health and Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children receives a proportion of the funding from the Department of Health’s National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centres funding scheme. The Millennium Cohort Study is funded by grants to former and current directors of the study from the Economic and Social Research Council (Professor Heather Joshi, Professor Lucinda Platt, and Professor Emla Fitzsimons) and a consortium of government funders. AP was funded by a Medical Research Council fellowship (MR/J012351/1). CMK was funded by a NIHR Academic Clinical Fellowship.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Pearce, Dr Anna
Authors: McKenna, C. S., Law, C., and Pearce, A.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:Nicotine and Tobacco Research
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN (Online):1469-994X
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 The Authors
First Published:First published in Nicotine and Tobacco Research 19:1521-1525
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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