Socioeconomic inequalities in the impact of tobacco control policies on adolescent smoking. A multilevel study in 29 European countries

Timo Kolja Pförtner, Anne Hublet, Christina Warrer Schnohr, Katharina Rathmann, Irene Moor, Margaretha de Looze, Tibor Baška, Michal Molcho, Lasse Kannas, Anton E. Kunst, Matthias Richter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Introduction: There are concerns that tobacco control policies may be less effective in reducing smoking among disadvantaged socioeconomic groups and thus may contribute to inequalities in adolescent smoking. This study examines how the association between tobacco control policies and smoking of 15-year-old boys and girls among 29 European countries varies according to socioeconomic group. Methods: Data were used from the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study conducted in 2005/2006 comprising 50,338 adolescents aged 15 years from 29 European countries. Multilevel logistic regression analyses were conducted to assess the association of weekly smoking with components of the Tobacco Control Scale (TCS), and to assesswhether this association varied according to family affluence (FAS). Analyseswere carried out per gender and adjusted for national wealth and general smoking rate. Results: For boys, tobacco pricewas negatively associated withweekly smoking rates. This association did not significantly differ between low and high FAS. Levels of tobacco-dependence treatment were significantly associated with weekly smoking. This association varied between low and high FAS, with higher treatment levels associatedwith higher probability of smoking only for lowFAS boys. For girls, no tobacco policywas significantly associated with weekly smoking, irrespective of the FAS.Conclusions: Results indicated that most tobacco control policies are not clearly related to adolescent weekly smoking across European countries. Only tobacco price seemed to be adequate decreasing smoking prevalence among boys, irrespective of their socioeconomic status.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-66
Number of pages9
JournalAddictive Behaviors
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes


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