Scientific Journal Articles
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King, et al. 2011. Socioeconomic variation in the prevalence, introduction, retention, and removal of smoke-free policies among smokers: Findings from the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four Country Survey
Introduction: Exposure to secondhand smoke causes premature death and disease in non-smokers and indoor smoke-free policies have become increasingly prevalent worldwide. Although socioeconomic disparities have been documented in tobacco use and cessation, the association between socioeconomic status (SES) and smoke-free policies is less well studied.
Methods: Data were obtained from the 2006 and 2007 Waves of the International Tobacco Control Four Country Survey (ITC-4), a prospective study of nationally representative samples of smokers in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Telephone interviews were administered to 8,245 current and former adult smokers from October 2006 to February 2007. Between September 2007 and February 2008, 5,866 respondents were re-interviewed. Self-reported education and annual household income were used to create SES tertiles. Outcomes included the presence, introduction, and removal of smoke-free policies in homes, worksites, bars, and restaurants.
Results: Smokers with high SES had increased odds of both having [OR: 1.54, 95% CI: 1.27–2.87] and introducing [OR: 1.49, 95% CI: 1.04–2.13] a total ban on smoking in the home compared to low SES smokers. Continuing smokers with high SES also had decreased odds of removing a total ban [OR: 0.44, 95% CI: 0.26–0.73]. No consistent association was observed between SES and the presence or introduction of bans in worksites, bars, or restaurants.
Conclusions: The presence, introduction, and retention of smoke-free homes increases with increasing SES, but no consistent socioeconomic variation exists in the presence or introduction of total smoking bans in worksites, bars, or restaurants. Opportunities exist to reduce SES disparities in smoke-free homes, while the lack of socioeconomic differences in public workplace, bar, and restaurant smoke-free policies suggest these measures are now equitably distributed in these four countries.[download PDF]
Background: This study aimed to track changes in demographic and smoking-related characteristics, such as perception of smoking and health among Korean adult smokers.
Methods: We conducted the three waves of the International Tobacco Control (ITC) survey-Korea (2005/2008/2010) using random digit-dialing telephone interviews. The ITC sample for each survey included 1,002 respondents at Wave 1, 1,818 at Wave 2 (including 441 cohort respondents from Wave 1), and 1,753 at Wave 3 (including 284 cohort respondents from Wave 1 and 745 from Wave 2).
Results: The largest age group ranged from 40-49 to ≥60, and the percentage of female respondents also has increased from Wave 1 to Wave 3. Even though the mean number of cigarettes per day significantly decreased from 18.2 to 17 in men, the same figure showed an insignificant increase for women from 14.3 to 18.6. As for the knowledge of health risk, awareness regarding the danger of stroke (from 35.5% to 51.4%) and blindness (from 31.6% to 42.1%) due to smoking was significantly improved (P < 0.01), whereas that of impotence, skin wrinkling, and peripheral vascular disease was not improved. The rate of subjects who answered “Health status is poor” increased from 13.2% to 16.4%, whereas rate of subjects who answered “Smoking has damaged health” decreased from 90% to 75.2%.
Conclusion: This study indicates that different strategies for the elderly and women should be developed and implemented because of their increased smoking rates. In addition, efforts to increase cessation rates should aim at increasing awareness of smoking-related diseases and health concern regarding smoking.[download PDF]
Mutti, et al. 2011. Beyond light and mild: Cigarette brand descriptors and perceptions of risk in the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four Country Survey
Aims: To examine perceptions of risk related to type of cigarette brand.
Design and setting: Cross-sectional findings from wave 5 of the ITC Four Country Survey, conducted with nationally representative samples of smokers in 2006.
Participants: A total of 8243 current and former adult (≥18 years) smokers from Canada (n = 2022), the United States (n = 2034), the United Kingdom (n = 2019) and Australia (n = 2168).
Measurements: Outcomes included beliefs about the relative risks of cigarettes, including perceptions of ‘own’ brand. Correlates included sociodemographic, smoking-related covariates and brand characteristics.
Findings: One-fifth of smokers believed incorrectly that ‘some cigarette brands could be less harmful’ than others. False beliefs were higher in both the United States and United Kingdom compared to Canada and Australia. Smokers of ‘light/mild’, ‘slim’ and 100 mm/120 mm cigarettes were more likely to believe that some cigarettes could be less harmful [odds ratio (OR) = 1.29, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.12–1.48 and that their own brand might be a little less harmful (OR = 2.61, 95% CI = 2.01–3.41). Smokers of ‘gold’, ‘silver’, ‘blue’ or ‘purple’ brands were more likely to believe that their ‘own brand might be a little less harmful’ compared to smokers of ‘red’ or ‘black’ brands (OR = 12.48, 95% CI = 1.45–107.31).
Conclusions: Despite current prohibitions on the words ‘light’ and ‘mild’, smokers in western countries continue to falsely believe that some cigarette brands may be less harmful than others. These beliefs are associated with descriptive words and elements of package design that have yet to be prohibited, including the names of colours and long, slim cigarettes.[download PDF]
Seidenberg, et al. 2011. Ignition strength of 25 international cigarette brands [access full article]
Background: Cigarette-ignited fires are a leading cause of fire death and injury throughout the world and remain a global public health and safety problem. To reduce this harm, a small number of countries now require cigarettes to have reduced ignition propensity (RIP). It is not known if cigarette manufacturers are voluntarily introducing RIP cigarettes in other countries to help save lives.
Methods: Using the ASTM E2187-04 test method, per cent full length burn (%FLB) was measured for three popular brands from each of seven countries that did not have RIP legislation at the time of purchase. Results were compared with %FLB measurements from four popular US brands purchased in a jurisdiction (Vermont) with an RIP law. SRM 1082 reference cigarette was also tested to assure laboratory quality control.
Results: All cigarette brands purchased in countries not requiring fire safety standards for cigarettes exceeded 75% FLB. In contrast, none of the cigarette brands from the USA exceeded 10% FLB. The SRM 1082 reference cigarette demonstrated 5% FLB.
Conclusion: Cigarette ignition propensity can be greatly reduced through legislation that requires cigarette fire safety standards. RIP cigarettes have the potential to significantly decrease the number of fire deaths, injuries and destruction of property caused by cigarette-ignited fires. Appropriate standards should be applied in cigarette markets globally.[download PDF]
Sirirassamee , et al. 2011. Smoking behavior among adolescents in Thailand and Malaysia
The objective of this study was to examine the smoking behavior among adolescents in Thailand and Malaysia. Population-based, national surveys were conducted among 1,704 adolescents between the ages of 13 and 18 from Thailand (n = 927) and Malaysia (n = 777). Respondents were selected using multistage cluster sampling. Respondents were asked to complete self-administered questionnaires. Approximately 5% of Thai and Malaysian adolescents were current smokers, while an additional 8.6% of Thai and 8.1% of Malaysian adolescents reported being beginning smokers. On average, Thai smokers reported first smoking a whole cigarette at 14.6 years old (SD = 1.9), while Malaysian smokers at age 13.9 years (SD = 2.2). More than half of Thai smokers (60.4%) reported they bought cigarettes themselves and 29.9% got cigarettes from friends. In Malaysia, most smokers (68.3%) reported they bought cigarettes themselves, only 20.7% got cigarettes from friends. Seventy-six percent of Thai adolescent smokers smoked factory-made brands as their usual brand compared to 27.7% of Malaysian adolescent smokers. Eight percent of Thai adolescents and 10% of Malaysian adolescents reported smoking hand-rolled cigarettes. Approximately half of Thais and more than 40% of Malaysian smokers reported they tried to quit smoking within the past month. The smoking prevalence of Thai adolescents is close to that of Malaysian adolescents. Factory-made cigarette consumption is an important problem in Thai adolescents and needs to be targeted.[download PDF]
Thrasher, et al. 2011. Consumption of single cigarettes and quitting behavior: A longitudinal analysis of Mexican smokers
Background: Previous cross-sectional research has suggested single cigarettes could either promote or inhibit consumption. The present study aimed to assess the effects of single cigarette availability and consumption on downstream quit behavior.
Methods: We analyzed population-based, longitudinal data from adult smokers who participated in the 2008 and 2010 administrations of the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Survey in Mexico.
Results: At baseline, 30% of smokers saw single cigarettes for sale on a daily basis, 17% bought singles at their last purchase, and 7% bought singles daily. Smokers who most frequently purchased singles, both in general and specifically to control their consumption, were no more likely to attempt to quit over the 14 month follow-up period than those who did not purchase singles. Frequency of buying singles to reduce consumption had a non-monotonic association with being quit at followup. The odds of being quit was only statistically significant when comparing those who had not bought singles to reduce consumption with those who had done so on a more irregular basis (AOR = 2.30; 95% CI 1.19, 4.45), whereas those who did so more regularly were no more likely to be quit at followup. Frequency of self-reported urges to smoke upon seeing singles for sale was unassociated with either quit attempts or being quit at followup.
Conclusions: These results suggest that the relationship between singles consumption and quit behavior is complex, with no clear evidence that singles either promote or inhibit downstream quit behavior.[download PDF]
Thrasher, et al. 2011. Using cognitive interviewing and behavioral coding to determine measurement equivalence across linguistic and cultural groups: An example from the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project
This study examined and compared results from two questionnaire pretesting methods (i.e., behavioral coding and cognitive interviewing [CI]) to assess systematic measurement bias in survey questions for adult smokers across six countries (United States, Australia, Uruguay, Mexico, Malaysia, and Thailand). Protocol development and translation involved multiple bilingual partners in each linguistic/cultural group. The study was conducted with convenience samples of 20 adult smokers in each country. Behavioral coding and CI methods produced similar conclusions regarding measurement bias for some questions; however, CI was more likely to identify potential response errors than behavioral coding. Coordinated qualitative pretesting of survey questions (or postsurvey evaluation) is feasible across cultural groups and can provide important information on comprehension and comparability. The CI appears to be a more robust technique than behavioral coding, although combinations of the two might be even better.[download PDF]
Vangeli, et al. 2011. Predictors of attempts to stop smoking and their success in adult general population samples: A systematic review
Aims: To identify the predictors of attempts to stop smoking and the predictors of quit attempt success in adult general population samples.
Methods: We performed an electronic search of EMBASE, Pubmed, Web of Science, PsychINFO and the Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group specialized register for articles that examined, in prospective adult general population samples, predictors of quit attempts and the success of quit attempts. Experts were contacted for knowledge of other relevant studies. Eight studies met the inclusion criteria and results were extracted independently by two researchers.
Results: There was considerable methodological heterogeneity between studies. Motivational factors dominated the prediction of quit attempts, whereas only cigarette dependence consistently predicted success after an attempt had been made. Social grade also appeared to predict success but was only examined in two studies. None of the other socio-demographic factors consistently predicted making a quit attempt or success.
Conclusions: Population-level studies from a number of countries show that past quit attempts and measures of motivation to stop are highly predictive of quit attempts, whereas only measures of dependence are consistently predictive of success of those attempts. Gender, age and marital status and educational level are not related consistently to quit attempts or quit success across countries.[download PDF]
Wakefield, et al. 2011. Effects of mass media campaign exposure intensity and durability on quit attempts in a population-based cohort study
Objective: To assess the extent to which intensity and timing of televised anti-smoking advertising emphasizing the serious harms of smoking influences quit attempts.
Methods: Using advertising gross rating points (GRPs), we estimated exposure to tobacco control and nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) advertising in the 3, 4-6, 7-9 and 10-12 months prior to follow-up of a replenished cohort of 3037 Australian smokers during 2002-08. Using generalized estimating equations, we related the intensity and timing of advertising exposure from each source to the likelihood of making a quit attempt in the 3 months prior to follow-up.
Results: Tobacco control advertising in the 3-month period prior to follow-up, but not in more distant past periods, was related to a higher likelihood of making a quit attempt. Each 1000 GRP increase per quarter was associated with an 11% increase in making a quit attempt [odds ratio (OR) = 1.11, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.03-1.19, P = 0.009)]. NRT advertising was unrelated to quit attempts.
Conclusions: Tobacco control advertising emphasizing the serious harms of smoking is associated with short-term increases in the likelihood of smokers making a quit attempt. Repeated cycles of higher intensity tobacco control media campaigns are needed to sustain high levels of quit attempts.[download PDF]
Yong, et al. 2011. Impact of the removal of misleading terms on cigarette pack on smokers’ beliefs about light/mild cigarettes: Cross-country comparisons
Aim: This paper examines how smokers’ beliefs about “light/ mild” cigarettes in Australia, Canada and the UK were affected by the removal of misleading “light/mild” terms from packs.
Design, setting and participants: The data come from the first 7 waves (2002-2009) of the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation (ITC) Four-Country Survey, an annual cohort telephone survey of adult smokers in Canada, United States, United Kingdom, and Australia (21,613 individual cases). “Light” and “mild” descriptors were removed in 2003 in the UK, in 2006 in Australia, and in 2007 in Canada. We compare beliefs about “light” cigarettes both before and after the bans, with those of smokers in the US serving as the control condition.
Findings: The proportions of respondents reporting misperceptions about light cigarettes declined between 2002 and 2009 in all four countries. There were marked temporary reductions in reported misperceptions in the UK and Australia but not in Canada following the removal of “light/mild” descriptors.
Conclusions: Removal of “light/mild” descriptors and tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide yield information from cigarette packs is insufficient to effectively eliminate false beliefs. The combination of alternative descriptors and design features that produce differences in taste strength and harshness, independent of actual intakes, are sufficient to produce or sustain the same misbeliefs.[download PDF]
This paper explores the application of fuzzy causal networks (FCNs) to evaluating effect of health warnings in influencing Australian smokers’ psychosocial and quitting behaviour. The sample data used in this study are selected from the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Survey project. Our research findings have demonstrated that new health warnings implemented in Australia have obvious impacts on smokers’ psychosocial and quitting behaviours. FCN is a useful framework to investigate such impacts that overcome the limitation of using traditional statistical techniques, such as linear regression and logistics regression, to analyse non-linear data.[download PDF]
Young, et al. 2011. Conceptual challenges in the translation of research into practice: It's not just a matter of "communication"
This paper identifies key barriers to the translation of science into practice and policy and makes recommendations for addressing them. It focuses on the challenges of translation within the field of tobacco control, but we argue that the insights are widely generalisable. Actor-Network Theory is used to frame an analysis, supplemented by focussed discussions with international tobacco control practitioners (service delivery and advocacy) and researchers. The central challenge to translation is that researchers and practitioners have different “practical ontologies”. Researchers use findings from specific contexts to generalise to universal principles, while practitioners try to use these generalisations to inform their work in what are typically a somewhat different set of specific contexts. Neglecting the need to translate back from the general to the particular means research syntheses are not framed to meet practitioners’ needs. Traditional knowledge broking roles need to be extended to better align the needs of researchers and practitioners. This may be facilitated by more creative use of “social computing” to enable real-time input into research syntheses from all interested parties, including input to the questions that research addresses. To do this systematically requires that we construct “generalisation gradients” to help practitioners apply general research conclusions to their particular situation and researchers to identify the relevance of their work. Disadvantaged communities in particular need help, since there is typically less research directly applicable to their contexts; thus, they need to generalise more.[download PDF]
Wilson, et al. 2011. Smokers commonly misperceive that nicotine is a major carcinogen: National survey data
We aimed to assess view in New Zealand (NZ) smokers, with the context being a country in which NRT is provided in a heavily subsidised form and widely distributed via the national quitline service. Data were collected through the NZ arm of the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Survey (ITC Project) which derives its sample of smokers from the NZ Health Survey (a representative national sample).[download PDF]
Wilson, et al. 2010. Poorer mental health in many New Zealand smokers: National survey data from the ITC Project [access full article]
There is international evidence that smoking and poorer mental health are associated.1–5 This association has also been studied in New Zealand (e.g., in longitudinal studies6–8) with the most recent work indicating that smoking has a causal role in depressive symptoms.9 Furthermore, in this country it has been estimated that 33% of all cigarettes are consumed by people with current mental disorders.10 We were able to further explore some aspects of the smoking and mental health issue in New Zealand as part of the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Survey (ITC Project).
Methods: The ITC Project (NZ arm) surveyed a nationally representative sample of adult smokers (n=1376 in Wave 1 in 2007/8, n=923 in Wave 2 in 2008/9). This study derives its sample from the New Zealand Health Survey (NZHS) which is a national sample with boosted sampling of Māori, Pacific and Asian New Zealanders. We measured their mental health and alcohol use status using the SF-36, the Kessler-10 (K10), and the AUDIT. Also assessed were smoking-related beliefs and behaviours, including quit rates. Some comparisons were made with non-smoking participants in the NZHS. All results are weighted and adjusted for the complex sample design. Further details of the methods (including response rates, attrition and weighting processes) are available in online Methods Reports11-13 and related publications.14 15
Results: In terms of overall mental health, smokers had significantly lower SF-36 (mental health) scores (i.e., poorer mental health status) than the general adult population (80.6, 95%CI: 79.6–81.6; vs 82.2, 95%CI: 81.9–82.6). Reporting ever having been diagnosed with a mental disorder was significantly more common for adult smokers than for non-smokers (at 20.3%, 95%CI: 17.4% – 23.1%; vs 11.5%, 95%CI: 10.8%–12.2%). Here the non-smoker comparison group was from the full NZHS sample and “mental disorders” were any in a list of eight items used in the NZHS.[download PDF]
Hoek, et al. 2010. Lessons from New Zealand’s introduction of pictorial health warnings on tobacco packaging [access full article]
While international evidence suggests that featuring pictorial health warnings on tobacco packaging is an effective tobacco control intervention, the process used to introduce these new warnings has not been well documented. We examined relevant documents and interviewed officials responsible for this process in New Zealand. We found that, despite tobacco companies’ opposition to pictorial health warnings and the resource constraints facing health authorities, the implementation process was generally robust and successful. Potential lessons for other countries planning to introduce or refresh existing pictorial health warnings include: (i) strengthening the link between image research and policy; (ii) requiring frequent image development and refreshment; (iii) using larger pictures (e.g. 80% of the front of the packet); (iv) developing themes that recognize concerns held by different smoker sub-groups; and (v) running integrated mass media campaigns when the warnings are introduced. All countries could also support moves by the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control’s Secretariat to develop an international bank of copyright-free warnings.[download PDF]
Elton-Marshall, et al. 2010. Beliefs about the relative harm of ‘‘light’’ and ‘‘low tar’’ cigarettes: Findings from the International Tobacco Control (ITC) China Survey [access full article]
Background: Many smokers in Western countries perceive ‘‘light’’ or ‘‘low tar’’ cigarettes as less harmful and less addictive than ‘‘regular’’ or ‘‘full flavoured’’ cigarettes. However, there is little research on whether similar perceptions exist among smokers in low and middle incomes, including China.
Objective: To characterise beliefs about ‘‘light’’ and ‘‘low tar’’ cigarettes among adult urban smokers in China.
Methods: We analysed data from Wave 1 of the ITC China Survey, a face-to-face household survey of 4732 adult Chinese smokers randomly selected from six cities in China in 2006. Households were sampled using a stratified multistage design.
Findings: Half (50.0%) of smokers in our sample reported having ever tried a cigarette described as ‘‘light,’’ ‘‘mild’’ or ‘‘low tar’’. The majority of smokers in our sample (71%) believed that ‘‘light’’ and/or ‘‘low tar’’ cigarettes are less harmful compared to ‘‘full flavoured’’ cigarettes. By far the strongest predictor of the belief that ‘‘light’’ and/or ‘‘low tar’’ cigarettes are less harmful was the belief that ‘‘light’’ and/or ‘‘low tar’’ cigarettes feel smoother on the respiratory system (p,0.001, OR=53.87, 95% CI 41.28 to 70.31).
Conclusion: Misperceptions about ‘‘light’’ and/or ‘‘low tar’’ cigarettes were strongly related to the belief that these cigarettes are smoother on the respiratory system. Future tobacco control policies should go beyond eliminating labelling and marketing that promotes ‘‘light’’ and ‘‘low tar’’ cigarettes by regulation of product characteristics (for example, additives, filter vents) that reinforce perceptions that ‘‘light’’ and ‘‘low tar’’ cigarettes are smoother on the respiratory system and therefore less harmful.[download PDF]
Feng, et al. 2010. Individual-level factors associated with intentions to quit smoking among adult smokers in six cities of China: Findings from the ITC China Survey [access full article]
Background: Over 350 million smokers live in China, and this represents nearly one-third of the smoking population of the world. Smoking cessation is critically needed to help reduce the harms and burden caused by smoking-related diseases. It is therefore important to identify the determinants of quitting and of quit intentions among smokers in China. Such knowledge would have potential to guide future tobacco control policies and programs that could increase quit rates in China.
Objective: To identify the correlates of intentions to quit smoking among a representative sample of adult smokers in six cities in China.
Methods: Data from wave 1 (2006) of the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Policy Evaluation Project China Survey, a face-to-face survey of adult Chinese smokers in six cities: Beijing, Shenyang, Shanghai, Changsha, Guangzhou and Yinchuan, was analysed. Households were sampled using a stratified multistage design. About 800 smokers were surveyed in each selected city (total n¼4815).
Results: Past quit attempts, duration of past attempts, Heaviness of Smoking Index (HSI), outcome expectancy of quitting, worry about future health and overall opinion of smoking were found to be independently associated with intentions to quit smoking, but demographic characteristics were not.
Conclusions: The determinants of quit intentions among smokers in China are fairly similar to those found among smokers in Western countries, despite the fact that interest in quitting is considerably lower among Chinese smokers. Identifying the determinants of quit intentions provides possibilities for shaping effective policies and programs for increasing quitting among smokers in China.[download PDF]
Jiang, et al. 2010. Quitting smoking in China: Findings from the ITC China Survey [access full article]
Background: Few studies have examined interest in quitting smoking and factors associated with quitting in mainland China.
Objective: To characterise interest in quitting, quitting behaviour, the use of cessation methods and reasons for thinking about quitting among adult urban smokers in six cities in China.
Methods: Data is from Wave 1 of the ITC China Survey, a face-to-face household survey of 4732 adult smokers randomly selected from six cities in China in 2006. Households were sampled using a stratified multistage design.
Findings: The majority of smokers had no plan to quit smoking (75.6%). Over half (52.7%) of respondents had ever tried to quit smoking. Few respondents thought that they could successfully quit smoking (26.5%). Smokers were aware of stop-smoking medications (73.5%) but few had used these medications (5.6%). Only 48.2% had received advice from a physician to quit smoking. The number one reason for thinking about quitting smoking in the last 6 months was concern for personal health (55.0%). Most smokers also believed that the government should do more to control smoking (75.2%).
Conclusion: These findings demonstrate the need to: (1) increase awareness of the dangers of smoking; (2) provide cessation support for smokers; (3) have physicians encourage smokers to quit; (4) deformalize tobacco use so that smokers feel pressured to quit; (5) implement smoke-free laws to encourage quitting; (6) develop stronger warning labels about the specific dangers of smoking and provide resources for obtaining further cessation assistance; and (7) increase taxes and raise the price of cigarettes.[download PDF]
Cooper, et al. 2010. To what extent do smokers make spontaneous quit attempts and what are the implications for smoking cessation maintenance? Findings from the International Tobacco Control Four Country Survey [access full article]
Aim: To assess the extent to which quit attempts are spontaneous and to evaluate if this is a determinant of smoking cessation maintenance, with better control for memory effects.
Methods: We use data from 3,022 smokers who made quit attempts between Waves 4 and 5 and/or Waves 5 and 6 of the International Tobacco Control Four country survey. Outcomes (quitting for 6 months) were confirmed at the next wave for cases where the attempt began within the previous 6 months. We assessed the length of delay between the decision to quit and implementation and whether the attempt followed a “spur-of-the-moment” decision or some serious prior consideration. Outcomes were modeled using generalized estimating equations.
Results: Prior consideration of quitting was unrelated to the outcome, but there were complex relationships for the delay between choosing a quit day and implementation. Those who reported quitting on the day they decided and those who delayed for 1 week or more had comparable rates of 6-month abstinence. Delaying for 1–6 days was associated with a greater relapse rate than those who quit on the day, although this effect became non-significant in multivariate analyses.
Conclusions: Quitting is on most smokers’ minds regularly and most attempts are not preceded by a long lead in period following the decision to try. Neither prior consideration nor delay between the decision to quit and implementation was clearly related to outcomes. Previous findings of greater success for spontaneous quit attempts may be because they conflate setting a date in advance with planning and also perhaps some differential memory effects.[download PDF]
Gibson, et al. 2010. The impact of the United Kingdom’s national smoking cessation strategy on quit attempts and use of cessation services: Findings from the International Tobacco Control Four Country Survey [access full article]
Introduction: The World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control recommends that provision of cessation support should be included in national tobacco control strategies. This study examines the impact of the United Kingdom’s national smoking cessation strategy on quit attempts, use of treatment and short-term abstinence, relative to the United States, Canada, and Australia where less support is provided.
Methods: Data on quitting behavior and use of support were obtained for all smokers enrolled in the International Tobacco Control 4 Country Survey between 2002 and 2005. Generalized estimating equations were used to calculate the relative odds (adjusted by age, sex, and Heaviness of Smoking Index) that smokers in each country made quit attempts, used behavioral or pharmacological support, and to compare rates of short-term (28 days) abstinence between countries and users of different forms of support.
Results: U.K. smokers were less likely to have attempted to quit smoking than those in Australia (odds ratio [OR] = 1.25, 95% CI: 1.12–1.40), Canada (OR = 1.50, 95% CI: 1.34–1.67), and the United States (OR = 1.25, 95% CI: 1.11–1.40) but were more likely to use pharmacotherapy and/or support from a clinic, helpline, or health professional when attempting to quit than smokers in the other countries. U.K. smokers making quit attempts were significantly more likely to achieve 28-day abstinence than those in Australia (OR = 0.59, 95% CI: 0.49–0.71), Canada (OR = 0.72, 95% CI: 0.61–0.87), and the United States (OR = 0.51, 95% CI: 0.42–0.62).
Conclusions: U.K. smokers report fewer quit attempts but are more likely to use support when quitting and to achieve short-term abstinence.[download PDF]
Reid, et al. 2010. Socioeconomic disparities in quit intentions, quit attempts, and smoking abstinence among smokers in four western countries: Findings from the International Tobacco Control Four Country Survey [access full article]
Introduction: Lower socioeconomic status (SES) groups have higher rates of tobacco use, are less likely to successfully quit, and may also be less likely to intend or attempt to quit. However, results are inconsistent for some outcomes, and little is known about how socioeconomic disparities vary across countries and over time.
Methods: This study examined the associations between SES and quitting-related behaviors among representative samples of smokers in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, using data from the first five waves (2002–2006/2007) of the International Tobacco Control Four Country Survey (35,532 observations from 16,458 respondents). Generalized estimating equations modeling was used to examine whether education and income were related to intentions to quit, incidence of quit attempts, and smoking abstinence. Potential differences in the associations over time and across countries were also considered.
Results: Smokers with higher education were more likely to intend to quit, to make a quit attempt, and to be abstinent for at least 1 and 6 months; smokers with higher income were more likely to intend to quit and to be abstinent for at least 1 month. Some between-country differences were observed: U.K. and U.S. smokers were less likely to intend to quit than Australians and Canadians; and, although U.K. respondents were least likely to attempt to quit, those that did were more likely to be abstinent.
Discussion: The results suggest that socioeconomic disparities exist at multiple stages in the path to smoking cessation. Potential effects on socioeconomic disparities should be considered when implementing cessation interventions.[download PDF]
Wilson, et al. 2010. Use of a national quitline and variation in use by smoker characteristics: ITC Project New Zealand [access full article]
Introduction: We aimed to describe use of a national quitline service and the variation in its use by smoker characteristics (particularly ethnicity and deprivation). The setting was New Zealand (NZ), which takes proactive measures to attract disadvantaged smokers to this service.
Methods: The NZ arm of the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Survey (ITC Project) utilizes the New Zealand Health Survey (a national sample) from which we surveyed adult smokers in two waves (N = 1,376 and N = 923) 1 year apart.
Results: Quitline use in the last 12 months rose from 8.1% (95% CI = 6.3%–9.8%) in Wave 1 to 11.2% (95% CI = 8.4%–14.0%) at Wave 2. Māori (the indigenous people of NZ) were significantly more likely to call the Quitline than were European/other smokers. Relatively higher call rates also occurred among those reporting higher deprivation, financial stress, a past mental health disorder, a past drug-related disorder, and higher psychological distress (Kessler 10-item index). Independent associations in the multivariate analyses of Quitline use were being Māori, reporting financial stress, and ever having been diagnosed with a mental health disorder.
Discussion: This national Quitline service is successfully stimulating disproportionately more calls by Māori smokers and those with some measures of disadvantage. It may therefore be contributing to reducing health inequalities. It appears possible to target quitlines to reach those smokers in greatest need.[download PDF]
Saenz-de-Miera, et al. 2010. Self-reported price of cigarettes, consumption and compensatory behaviours in a cohort of Mexican smokers before and after a cigarette tax increase [access full article]
Objective: To assess the impact of a 2007 cigarette tax increase from 110% to 140% of the price to the retailer on cigarette price and consumption among Mexican smokers, including efforts to offset price increases.
Methods: Data were analysed from the 2006 and 2007 administrations of the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Policy Evaluation Survey in Mexico, which is a population-based cohort of adult smokers. Self-reported price of last cigarette purchase, place of last purchase, preferred brand, daily consumption and quit behaviour were assessed at baseline and follow-up.
Results: Self-reported cigarette prices increased by 12.7% after the tax increase, with prices for international brands increasing more than for national brands (13.5% vs 8.7%, respectively). Although the tax increases were not fully passed onto consumers particularly on national brands, no evidence was found for smokers changing behaviour to offset price increases. Consistent declines in consumption across groups defined by sociodemographic and smoking-related psychosocial variables suggest a relatively uniform impact of the tax increase across subpopulations. However, decreased consumption appeared limited to people who smoked relatively more cigarettes a day (>5 cigarettes/day). Average daily consumption among lighter smokers did not significantly decline. A total of 13% (n=98) of the sample reported being quit for a month or more at follow-up. In multivariate models, lighter smokers were more likely than heavier smokers to be quit.
Conclusions: Results suggest that the 2007 tax increase was passed on to consumers, whose consumption generally declined. Since no other tobacco control policies or programmes were implemented during the period analysed, the tax increase appears likely to have decreased consumption.[download PDF]
King, et al. 2010. Malaysian and Thai smokers’ beliefs about the harmfulness of ‘light’ and menthol cigarettes [access full article]
Objective: This study explored the extent to which Malaysian and Thai smokers believe “light” and menthol cigarettes are less harmful than “regular” cigarettes and the correlates of these beliefs.
Methods: The study used data from wave 1 of the International Tobacco Control Southeast Asia Survey. 2006 adult smokers (95.3% male) from Malaysia and 2000 adult smokers (94.5% male) from Thailand were interviewed face to face in 2005.
Results: 29% of Malaysian respondents reported currently smoking light cigarettes and 14% menthols, with 19% agreeing that lights are less harmful and 16% agreeing that menthols are less harmful. 38% of Thai respondents reported currently smoking light cigarettes and 19% menthols, with 46% agreeing that lights are less harmful and 35% agreeing that menthols are less harmful. Malaysian smokers reporting current use of light or menthol cigarettes were more likely to believe that they are less harmful. Reported use of lights did not relate to beliefs for Thai respondents. The belief that light and/or menthol cigarettes are less harmful was strongly related to the belief that they have smoother smoke.
Conclusions: The experience of smoother smoke is likely to produce some level of belief in reduced harm, regardless of how brands are labelled and whether or not Federal Trade Commission FTC/International Organisation for Standardisation tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide yield figures are used.[download PDF]
Li, et al. 2010. Support for smoke-free policies among smokers and non-smokers in six cities in China: ITC China Survey [access full article]
Objective: To examine levels of support for comprehensive smoke-free policies in six large Chinese cities.
Methods: Data from Wave 1 of the International Tobacco Control (ITC) China Survey (April–August 2006) were
analysed. The ITC China Survey employed a multistage sampling design in Beijing, Shenyang, Shanghai, Changsha, Guangzhou and Yinchuan (none of which has comprehensive smokefree policies in place). Face-to-face interviews were conducted with 4815 smokers and 1270 nonsmokers.Multivariate logistic regression models were used to identify factors associated with support for comprehensive smoke-free policies.
Results: About one in two Chinese urban smokers and four in five non-smokers believed that secondhand smoke (SHS) causes lung cancer. The majority of respondents supported comprehensive smoke-free policies in hospitals, schools and public transport vehicles while support for smoke-free workplaces, restaurants and bars was lower. Levels of support were generally comparable between smokers and non-smokers. Support for comprehensive smoke-free policies was positively associated with knowledge about the harm of SHS.
Respondents who worked in a smoke-free worksite or who frequented smoke-free indoor entertainment places were more likely to support comprehensive smoking restriction in bars and restaurants.
Conclusion: Considerable support for smoke-free policies exists in these six large cities in China. Greater public education about the dangers of SHS may further increase support. Experiencing the benefits of smoke-free indoor entertainment places and/or workplaces increases support for these policies and suggests that some initial smoke-free policy implementation may hasten the diffusion of these public health policies.[download PDF]