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Prev Chronic Dis. 2016 Jan 14;13:E08. doi: 10.5888/pcd13.150458.

Cigarette Smoking Among Socioeconomically Disadvantaged Young Adults in Association With Food Insecurity and Other Factors.

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University of California, San Francisco, 401 Parnassus Avenue, TRC Box 0984, San Francisco, CA 94143. Email:
University of California, San Francisco, Department of Psychiatry, San Francisco, California.



Low socioeconomic status is associated with high rates of cigarette smoking, and socioeconomic differences in cigarette smoking tend to emerge during young adulthood. To further our understanding of socioeconomic differences in smoking among young adults, we examined correlates of smoking, with attention to multiple socioeconomic indicators that have not been examined in this population.


We analyzed data from the 2011-2012 California Health Interview Survey. The analytic sample consisted of young adults aged 18-30 years who were considered socioeconomically disadvantaged as measured by education and poverty. Logistic regression analyses were conducted to examine factors associated with smoking status in this group, and multinomial logistic regression analyses were conducted to examine correlates of smoking frequency.


In this sample (N = 1,511; 48% female, 66% Hispanic/Latino, 18% non-Hispanic white), 39.7% reported experiencing food insecurity in the past year. Smoking prevalence was significantly higher among young adults who reported being food insecure (26.9%) than among those who reported being food secure (16.4%). Past-year food insecurity was significantly associated with current smoking, independent of sociodemographic characteristics and alcohol use. Specifically, food insecurity was significantly associated with daily but not nondaily smoking.


Socioeconomically disadvantaged young adults with food insecurity may be considered a high-risk group with respect to cigarette smoking. Efforts to reduce tobacco-related health disparities should address diverse sources of socioeconomic influences, including experiences of food insecurity.

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