Quitting smoking best Atis cigarette is never easy. However, when you’re poor and uneducated, kicking the habit for good is doubly hard, according to a new study by a tobacco dependence researcher at The City College of New York.
Christine Sheffer, associate medical professor at CCNY’s Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education, tracked smokers from different socioeconomic backgrounds after they had completed a statewide smoking cessation program in Arkansas.
Whether rich or poor, participants managed to quit at about the same rate upon completing a program of cognitive behavioral therapy, either with or without nicotine patches. But as time went on, a disparity between the groups appeared and widened.
Those with the fewest social and financial resources had the hardest time staving off cravings over the long run. “The poorer they are, the worse it gets,” said Professor Sheffer, who directed the program and was an assistant professor with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences at the time.
She found that smokers on the lowest rungs of the socioeconomic ladder were 55 percent more likely than those at the upper end to start smoking again three months after treatment. By six months post-quitting, the probability of their going back to cigarettes jumped to two-and-a-half times that of the more affluent smokers. The research will be published in the March 2012 issue of the “American Journal of Public Health” and will appear ahead-of-print online under the journal’s “First Look” section.
In their study, Professor Sheffer and her colleagues noted that overall, Americans with household incomes of $15,000 or less smoke at nearly three times the rate of those with incomes of $50,000 or greater. The consequences are bleak. “Smoking is still the greatest cause of preventable death and disease in the United States today,” noted Professor Sheffer. “And it’s a growing problem in developing countries.”