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Nicotine Tob Res. 2006 Feb;8(1):29-36.

Social class, education, and smoking cessation: Long-term follow-up of patients treated at a smoking cessation unit.

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Cancer Prevention and Control Unit, Institut Català d'Oncologia (IDIBELL), and Department of Public Health, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.


Our objective was to examine social class and educational differences in long-term smoking cessation success among a cohort of smokers attending a specialized smoking clinic. We studied sustained abstinence after cessation among 1,516 smokers (895 men and 621 women) treated for smoking cessation between 1995 and 2001 at a university teaching hospital in the metropolitan area of Barcelona, Spain. We calculated 1-year and long-term (up to 8-year) abstinence probabilities by means of Kaplan-Meier curves and the hazard ratio of relapse by means of Cox regression, after adjusting for other predictors of relapse. Overall abstinence probability was .277 (95% CI = .254-.301). Men and women in social classes IV-V had significant hazard ratios of relapse after long-term follow-up (men: 1.36, 95% CI = 1.07-1.72; women: 1.60, 95% CI = 1.24-2.06), as compared with patients in social classes I-II. The same independent effect was observed for education: Men and women with primary or less than primary studies had higher hazard ratios of relapse (men: 1.75, 95% CI = 1.35-2.25; women: 1.92, 95% CI = 1.51-2.46), as compared with patients with a university degree. Similar estimates were obtained after adjustment for stage of change, Fagerström score for nicotine dependence, and type of treatment. Patients of lower socioeconomic status are at higher risk of relapse, and this association is independent of other well-known predictors of relapse. Social differences have to be taken into account in the clinical setting when tailoring specific actions to treat smoking dependence.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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