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N Z Med J. 2002 Jul 26;115(1158):U108.

Cigarette smoking, pocket money and socioeconomic status: results from a national survey of 4th form students in 2000.

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Department of Community Health, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.



To investigate whether pocket money amount and socio-economic status are risk factors for smoking in 14 and 15 year old children.


This was a national cross-sectional survey of 4th form students who answered an anonymous self-administered questionnaire in November 2000. Socio-economic status was determined from the Ministry of Education school socio-economic deciles.


Questionnaires from 14793 girls and 14577 boys were analysed. Socioeconomic status (SES) was inversely associated with smoking prevalence in girls only (p<0.0001). Students in low SES decile schools received greater amounts of pocket money than those in high SES decile schools (p<0.0001). Compared with students who received $1-10 in the last 30 days, for students receiving pocket money >$30, $21-30, or $11-20, the adjusted relative risks for smoking > or = monthly were 1.73 (95% CI 1.61, 1.85), 1.48 (1.35, 1.62), and 1.15 (1.03, 1.28) in girls, and 1.57 (1.46, 1.70), 1.32 (1.19, 1.46), and 1.11 (1.00, 1.23) in boys, respectively. The proportion of smokers purchasing cigarettes increased with amount of pocket money received in the last 30 days (p<0.0001).


Cigarette smoking is positively related to pocket money amount in adolescents. This finding has important public health significance, but further research is required to determine if the association is causal.

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