Scientific Journal Articles
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Aims: To determine the prevalence and characteristics of smokers who experience smoking-induced deprivation (SID), and to examine its effect on quit attempts, relapse and cessation.
Methods: Waves 2 and 3 (2003-5) of the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Survey were used, which is a prospective study of a cohort of smokers in the US, Canada, UK and Australia. SID was measured with the question "In the last six months, have you spent money on cigarettes that you knew would be better spent on household essentials like food?" A total of 7802 smokers participated in the survey in wave 2, of whom 5408 were also interviewed in wave 3.
Findings: The proportion of smokers who reported SID was highest in Australia (33%) and lowest in the UK (20%). Younger age, minority status and low income were associated with a higher probability of SID. Some of the other factors related to a higher probability of SID were higher level of nicotine dependence, having an intention to quit, and smoking to help one socialise or control weight. The relationship between SID and quit attempt was mediated by having an intention to quit and worrying that smoking would damage health and reduce the quality of life. The relationship between SID and relapse was mediated by perceived stress. SID was not associated with successful cessation.
Conclusions: Many smokers experience deprivation that is the result of their smoking. Strategies to reduce the prevalence of smoking probably effect a general improvement in standards of living and reduction in deprivation.[download PDF]
Thrasher, et al. 2007. Smokers' reactions to cigarette package warnings with graphic imagery and with only text: A comparison between Mexico and Canada
Objective: This comparison of population-based representative samples of adult smokers in Canada (n=1 751) and Mexico (n=1 081) aimed to determine whether cigarette packages with graphic warning labels in Canada had a stronger impact than the text-only warning labels in Mexico.
Materials and methods: Bivariate and multivariate adjusted models were used in this study. Results. Canadian smokers reported higher warning label salience (i.e., noticing labels & processing label messages) than Mexican smokers, and warning label salience independently predicted intention to quit. Moreover, Canadians had higher levels of knowledge about smoking-related health outcomes that were included as content on Canadian, but not Mexican, warning labels. Finally, a majority of Mexican smokers want their cigarette packs to contain more information than they currently contain.
Discussion: These results are consistent with other studies that indicate that cigarette packages whose warning labels contain prominent graphic imagery are more likely than text-only warning labels to promote smoking-related knowledge and smoking cessation.[download PDF]
Wilson, et al. 2007. National smokefree law in New Zealand improves air quality inside bars, pubs and restaurants
Background: We aimed to: (i) assess compliance with a new smokefree law in a range of hospitality settings; and (ii) to assess the impact of the new law by measuring air quality and making comparisons with air quality in outdoor smoking areas and with international data from hospitality settings.
Methods: We included 34 pubs, restaurants and bars, 10 transportation settings, nine other indoor settings, six outdoor smoking areas of bars and restaurants, and six other outdoor settings. These were selected using a mix of random, convenience and purposeful sampling. The number of lit cigarettes among occupants at defined time points in each venue was observed and a portable real-time aerosol monitor was used to measure fine particulate levels (PM2.5).
Results: No smoking was observed during the data collection periods among over 3785 people present in the indoor venues, nor in any of the transportation settings. The levels of fine particulates were relatively low inside the bars, pubs and restaurants in the urban and rural settings (mean 30-minute level = 16 μg/m3 for 34 venues; range of mean levels for each category: 13 μg/m3 to 22 μg/m3). The results for other smokefree indoor settings (shops, offices etc) and for smokefree transportation settings (eg, buses, trains, etc) were even lower. However, some “outdoor” smoking areas attached to bars/restaurants had high levels of fine particulates, especially those that were partly enclosed (eg, up to a 30-minute mean value of 182 μg/m3 and a peak of maximum value of 284 μg/m3). The latter are far above WHO guideline levels for 24 hour exposure (ie, 25μg/m3).
Conclusion: There was very high compliance with the new national smokefree law and this was also reflected by the relatively good indoor air quality in hospitality settings (compared to the “outdoor” smoking areas and the comparable settings in countries that permit indoor smoking). Nevertheless, adopting enhanced regulations (as used in various US and Canadian jurisdictions) may be needed to address hazardous air quality in relatively enclosed “outdoor” smoking areas.[download PDF]
O'Connor, et al. 2006. Relationship between constituent labelling and reporting of tar yields among smokers in four countries [access full article]
Countries have adopted different approaches to disseminating cigarette tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide (CO) levels to consumers, with some (e.g. EU member states, Canada, Australia, but not the United States) requiring disclosure of results from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) test method on packs. Cross-country comparisons can provide insight into how smokers use yields when information is presented differently. We examined whether smokers in four different countries could recall the tar yield of their brand of cigarettes, using data from the third wave of the International Tobacco Control Four Country Survey (ITC-4). Of current smokers in the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom, 33.6% gave a numeric response when asked to report the tar yield of their brand, whereas 66.4% responded ‘I don’t know.’ American participants (9.2%) were less likely than Canadian (28.0%), UK (36.5%) or Australian (68.2%) smokers to give an answer, even after controlling for sociodemographic and smoking behaviour factors. Constituent labelling policies can affect whether smokers report a tar yield for their cigarette brand. Pack labelling appears to be useful for conveying information about cigarettes to smokers; however, there is an urgent need to develop more meaningful information on toxic constituents of cigarette smoke.[download PDF]
Hyland , et al. 2006. Cigarette purchase patterns in four countries and the relationship with cessation: Findings from the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four Country Survey [access full article]
Background: Higher cigarette prices result in decreased cigarette consumption, but some smokers may seek lower-taxed cigarette sources. This price avoidance behaviour likely dampens the health impact of higher cigarette prices although it has not been thoroughly studied.
Objective: To describe the characteristics of smokers who purchase low/untaxed cigarettes and to examine how this behaviour is associated with subsequent changes in smoking behaviours.
Methods: Telephone survey data from 8930 smokers from the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four Country Survey (ITC-4) were used to assess cigarette purchase patterns and smoking behaviours in Wave 1 conducted from October to December 2002 and subsequently followed seven months later in Wave 2. Respondents’ smoking status, attempts to quit, amount smoked, and cigarette purchase patterns were assessed in both waves.
Results: Rates of purchase from a low/untaxed source at the respondents’ last cigarette purchase differed notably between countries at Wave 1, from less than 1% in Australia to 15% in the United Kingdom. In the UK, but not the other countries, this increased significantly to 20% at Wave 2. Smokers who were older, white/English speakers, had higher incomes, and had higher levels of education were more likely to report purchasing cigarettes from a low/untaxed source on their last purchase. Those who reported purchasing from a low/untaxed source on their last purchase at Wave 1 were less likely to have tried to quit smoking quit smoking by Wave 2 (relative risk 0.70, p , 0.01), while no overall significant association with smoking cessation was observed.
Conclusion: Data from this study indicate that there are lower levels of making a quit attempt among purchasers of low/untaxed cigarettes compared to purchasers of full-priced cigarettes. The availability of low/untaxed cigarettes may mitigate the influence of increases in cigarette prices.[download PDF]
Borland, et al. 2006. Determinants and consequences of smoke-free homes: Findings from the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four Country Survey [access full article]
Objective: To report on prevalence, trends and determinants of smoke-free home policies in smokers’ homes in different countries and to estimate the effects of these policies on smoking cessation.
Design: Two waves of the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four Country Survey (ITC-4), a cohort survey of smokers conducted by telephone. Wave 1 was conducted in October/December 2002 with broadly representative samples of over 2000 adult (⩾ 18 years) cigarette smokers in each of the following four countries: Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, 75% of whom were followed up at Wave 2 on average seven months later.
Key measures: Levels of smoking restrictions in homes (both waves).
Results: Australian smokers were most likely to live in smoke-free homes and UK smokers least likely (34% v 15% at Wave 1). Levels of smoke-free homes increased between waves. Logistic regressions indicated that the main independent predictors of smokers reporting smoke-free homes or implementation of a smoke-free policy between waves included household factors such as having a child, particularly a young child, and having other non-smoking adults in the household. Positive attitudes to smoke-free public places and/or reported presence of smoke-free public places were independent predictors of having or implementing smoke-free homes, supporting a social diffusion model for smoking restrictions. Intentions to quit at Wave 1 and quitting activity between survey waves were associated with implementing bans between Waves 1 and 2. Presence of bans at Wave 1 was associated with significantly greater proportions of quit attempts, and success among those who tried at Wave 2. There was no significant interaction between the predictive models and country.
Conclusions: Smoke-free public places seem to stimulate adoption of smoke-free homes, a strategy associated with both increased frequency of quit attempts, and of the success of those attempts.[download PDF]
Borland, et al. 2006. Support for and reported compliance with smoke-free restaurants and bars by smokers in four countries: Findings from the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four Country Survey [access full article]
Objective: To explore determinants of support for and reported compliance with smoke-free policies in restaurants and bars across the four countries of the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four Country Survey.
Design: Separate telephone cross-sectional surveys conducted between October and December 2002 with broadly representative samples of over 2000 adult (⩾ 18 years) cigarette smokers in each of the following four countries: the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia.
Outcome measures: Support for smoke-free policies in restaurants and pubs/bars and reported compliance with existing policies.
Results: Reported total bans on indoor smoking in restaurants varied from 62% in Australia to 5% in the UK. Smoking bans in bars were less common, with California in the USA being the only major part of any country with documented bans. Support for bans in both restaurants and bars was related to the existence of bans, beliefs about passive smoking being harmful, lower average cigarette consumption, and older age. Self-reported compliance with a smoking ban was generally high and was associated with greater support for the ban.
Conclusions: Among current cigarette smokers, support for smoking bans was associated with living in a place where the law prohibits smoking. Smokers adjust and both accept and comply with smoke-free laws. Associates of support and compliance are remarkably similar across countries given the notably different levels of smoke-free policies.[download PDF]
Fong, et al. 2006. The conceptual framework of the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Policy Evaluation Project [access full article]
This paper describes the conceptual model that underlies the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project (ITC Project), whose mission is to measure the psychosocial and behavioural impact of key policies of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) among adult smokers, and in some countries, among adult non-smokers and among youth. The evaluation framework utilises multiple country controls, a longitudinal design, and a pre-specified, theory-driven conceptual model to test hypotheses about the anticipated effects of specific policies. The ITC Project consists of parallel prospective cohort surveys of representative samples of adult smokers currently in nine countries (inhabited by over 45% of the world’s smokers), with other countries being added in the future. Collectively, the ITC Surveys constitute the first-ever international cohort study of tobacco use. The conceptual model of the ITC Project draws on the psychosocial and health communication literature and assumes that tobacco control policies influence tobacco related behaviours through a causal chain of psychological events, with some variables more closely related to the policy itself (policy-specific variables) and other variables that are more downstream from the policy, which have been identified by health behaviour and social psychological theories as being important causal precursors of behaviour (psychosocial mediators). We discuss the objectives of the ITC Project and its potential for building the evidence base for the FCTC.[download PDF]
Fong, et al. 2006. Building the evidence base for effective tobacco control policies: The International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project (the ITC Project) [access full article]
The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) is a seminal event in tobacco control and in global health. Scientific evidence guided the creation of the FCTC, and as the treaty moves into its implementation phase, scientific evidence can be used to guide the formulation of evidence‐based tobacco control policies. The International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project (ITC Project) is a transdisciplinary international collaboration of tobacco control researchers who have created research studies to evaluate and understand the psychosocial and behavioural impact of FCTC policies as they are implemented in participating ITC countries, which together are inhabited by over 45% of the world's smokers. This introduction to the ITC Project supplement of Tobacco Control presents a brief outline of the ITC Project, including a summary of key findings to date. The overall conceptual model and methodology of the ITC Project—involving representative national cohort surveys created from a common conceptual model, with common methods and measures across countries—may hold promise as a useful paradigm in efforts to evaluate and understand the impact of population‐based interventions in other important domains of health, such as obesity.[download PDF]
Fong, et al. 2006. Reductions in tobacco smoke pollution and increases in support for smoke-free public places following the implementation of comprehensive smoke-free workplace legislation in the Republic of Ireland [access full article]
Objective: To evaluate the psychosocial and behavioural impact of the first ever national level comprehensive workplace smoke-free law, implemented in Ireland in March 2004.
Design: Quasi-experimental prospective cohort survey: parallel cohort telephone surveys of national representative samples of adult smokers in Ireland (n = 769) and the UK (n = 416), surveyed before the law (December 2003 to January 2004) and 8-9 months after the law (December 2004 to January 2005).
Main outcome measures: Respondents' reports of smoking in key public venues, support for total bans in those key venues, and behavioural changes due to the law.
Results: The Irish law led to dramatic declines in reported smoking in all venues, including workplaces (62% to 14%), restaurants (85% to 3%), and bars/pubs (98% to 5%). Support for total bans among Irish smokers increased in all venues, including workplaces (43% to 67%), restaurants (45% to 77%), and bars/pubs (13% to 46%). Overall, 83% of Irish smokers reported that the smoke-free law was a "good" or "very good" thing. The proportion of Irish homes with smoking bans also increased. Approximately 46% of Irish smokers reported that the law had made them more likely to quit. Among Irish smokers who had quit at post-legislation, 80% reported that the law had helped them quit and 88% reported that the law helped them stay quit.
Conclusion: The Ireland smoke-free law stands as a positive example of how a population-level policy intervention can achieve its public health goals while achieving a high level of acceptance among smokers. These findings support initiatives in many countries toward implementing smoke-free legislation, particularly those who have ratified the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which calls for legislation to reduce tobacco smoke pollution.[download PDF]
Hammond, et al. 2006. Effectiveness of cigarette warning labels in informing smokers about the risks of smoking: Findings from the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four Country Survey [access full article]
Background: Health warnings on cigarette packages are among the most common means of communicating the health risks of smoking. However, few studies have evaluated the impact of package warnings on consumer knowledge about tobacco risks.
Objective: The aim of the current study was to use nationally representative samples of adult smokers from the United States (USA), the United Kingdom (UK), Canada (CAN), and Australia (AUS) from the International Tobacco Control Four Country Survey (ITC-4) to examine variations in smokers’ knowledge about tobacco risks and the impact of package warnings.
Methods: A telephone survey was conducted with 9058 adult smokers from the following countries: USA (n = 2138), UK (n = 2401), CAN (n = 2214) and AUS (n = 2305). Respondents were asked to state whether they believed smoking caused heart disease, stroke, impotence, lung cancer in smokers, and lung cancer in non-smokers. Respondents were also asked whether the following chemicals are found in cigarette smoke: cyanide, arsenic and carbon monoxide.
Findings: Smokers in the four countries exhibited significant gaps in their knowledge of the risks of smoking. Smokers who noticed the warnings were significantly more likely to endorse health risks, including lung cancer and heart disease. In each instance where labelling policies differed between countries, smokers living in countries with government mandated warnings reported greater health knowledge. For example, in Canada, where package warnings include information about the risks of impotence, smokers were 2.68 (2.41–2.97) times more likely to agree that smoking causes impotence compared to smokers from the other three countries.
Conclusion: Smokers are not fully informed about the risks of smoking. Warnings that are graphic, larger, and more comprehensive in content are more effective in communicating the health risks of smoking.[download PDF]
Hammond, et al. 2006. Exposure to tobacco marketing and support for tobacco control policies [access full article]
Objectives: To examine the salience of tobacco marketing on postsecondary campuses and student support for tobacco control policies.
Methods: Face-to-face surveys were conducted with 1690 students at 3 universities in southwestern Ontario.
Results: Virtually all (97) students reported noticing tobacco marketing in the past year, and 35 reported noticing marketing on campus. There was strong support for smoke-free restrictions on campus, including restaurants and bars (82), and for prohibitions on campus marketing. The presence of campus policies was associated with reduced exposure to marketing and increased policy support.
Conclusions: There is strong support among students to remove tobacco marketing from campus and to introduce comprehensive smoke-free restrictions.[download PDF]
Hammond, et al. 2006. Tobacco denormalization and industry beliefs among smokers from four countries [access full article]
Background: Tobacco denormalization is an important concept for understanding smoking behavior. The present study sought to assess beliefs about the tobacco industry and the social acceptability of smoking among nationally representative samples of adult smokers from four countries, and to assess the relationship of these measures to cessation behavior and tobacco-control policy.
Design: A longitudinal survey of 9058 adult smokers from Canada (n = 2214), the United States (n = 2138), the United Kingdom (n = 2401), and Australia (n = 2305), was conducted in October-December 2002 and again in June and August 2003 (75% follow-up rate). The analyses were conducted in 2005.
Results: The findings indicate that few smokers perceive approval for their smoking, and most hold relatively antagonistic beliefs toward the tobacco industry. For example, 80% of smokers reported that society disapproves of smoking, and more than three quarters reported that tobacco companies cannot be trusted to tell the truth. Social and industry denormalization were independently associated with intentions to quit smoking. Baseline levels of social denormalization were associated with abstinence at the 8-month follow-up, as were changes in industry denormalization beliefs between baseline and follow-up. Anti-industry beliefs at baseline did not predict abstinence at follow-up. A similar pattern of findings was observed across all four countries. In addition, social denormalization and anti-industry beliefs were significantly associated with tobacco-control policies, such as noticing health warnings on packages and greater workplace smoking restrictions.
Conclusions: Tobacco denormalization constructs were independently linked to cessation-related outcomes among adults from four countries. Tobacco-industry denormalization themes in mass media campaigns may help to reduce tobacco use above and beyond more traditional communications that target social norms.[download PDF]
Harris, et al. 2006. Effects of the 2003 advertising/promotion ban in the United Kingdom on awareness of tobacco marketing: Findings from the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four Country Survey [access full article]
Background: In February 2003, a comprehensive ban on tobacco promotion came into effect in the United Kingdom, which prohibited tobacco marketing through print and broadcast media, billboards, the internet, direct mail, product placement, promotions, free gifts, coupons and sponsorships.
Objective: To investigate the impact of the UK’s comprehensive ban on tobacco promotion on adult smokers’ awareness of tobacco marketing in the UK relative to Canada, the United States and Australia.
Design: A total of 6762 adult smokers participated in two waves of a random digit dialled telephone survey across the four countries. Wave 1 was conducted before the UK ban (October–December 2002) and Wave 2 was conducted after the UK ban (May–September 2003).
Key measures: Awareness of a range of forms of tobacco marketing.
Results: Levels of tobacco promotion awareness declined significantly among smokers in the UK after implementation of the advertising ban. Declines in awareness were greater in those channels regulated by the new law and change in awareness of tobacco promotions was much greater in the UK than the other three countries not affected by the ban. At least in the short term, there was no evidence that the law resulted in greater exposure to tobacco promotions in the few media channels not covered by the law. Notwithstanding the apparent success of the UK advertising ban and the controls in other countries, 9–22% of smokers in the four countries still reported noticing things that promoted smoking ‘‘often or very often’’ at Wave 2.
Conclusions: The UK policy to ban tobacco advertising and promotion has significantly reduced exposure to pro-tobacco marketing influences. These findings support the effectiveness of comprehensive bans on advertising and promotion, as included in the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.[download PDF]
Haw , et al. 2006. Legislation on smoking in enclosed public places in Scotland: How will we evaluate the impact?
Background: From 26 March 2006, smoking will be prohibited in wholly and substantially enclosed public places in Scotland, and it will be an offence to permit smoking or to smoke in no-smoking premises. We anticipate that implementation of the smoke-free legislation will result in significant health gains associated with reductions in exposure to both environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) and personal tobacco consumption as well as other social and economic impacts.
Methods: Health Scotland in conjunction with the Information Services Division (ISD) Scotland and the Scottish Executive have developed a comprehensive evaluation strategy to assess the expected short-term, intermediate and long-term outcomes. Using routine health, behavioural and economic data and commissioned research, we will assess the impact of the smoke-free legislation in eight key outcome areas – knowledge and attitudes, ETS exposure, compliance, culture, smoking prevalence and tobacco consumption, tobacco-related morbidity and mortality, economic impacts on the hospitality sector and health inequalities.
Conclusion: The findings from this evaluation will make a significant contribution to the international understanding of the health effects of exposure to ETS and the broader social, cultural and economic impacts of smoke-free legislation.[download PDF]
Hyland , et al. 2006. Individual-level predictors of cessation behaviours among participants in the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four Country Survey [access full article]
Background: The International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four Country Survey (ITC-4) is a prospective cohort study designed to evaluate the psychosocial and behavioural impact of national-level tobacco control policies enacted in the Australia, Canada, the UK, and the USA. Wave 1 of ITC-4 survey was conducted between October 2002 and December 2002. Wave 2 survey was conducted between May 2003 and August 2003.
Objective: To test for individual-level predictors of smoking cessation behaviours (that is, quit attempts and smoking cessation) among cigarette smokers in the ITC Four Country Study measured between Wave 1 and Wave 2. This set of predictors will serve as the base for evaluating the added effect of tobacco control policies and other factors.
Methods: Respondents included in this study are 6682 adult current smokers in the Wave 1 main survey who completed the Wave 2 follow-up (1665 were in Canada, 1329 were in the USA, 1837 were in the UK and 1851 were in Australia).
Results: Factors predictive of making a quit attempt included intention to quit, making a quit attempt in the previous year, longer duration of past quit attempts, less nicotine dependence, more negative attitudes about smoking, and younger age. Lower levels of nicotine dependence were the main factor that predicted future cessation among those that made a quit attempt.
Conclusion: Intention to quit and other cognitive variables were associated with quit attempts, but not cessation. Behavioural variables related to task difficulty, including measures of dependence, predicted both making attempts and their success. Predictors of making quit attempts and cessation were similar for each of the four countries, but there were some differences in predictors of success.[download PDF]
O'Connor, et al. 2006. Smokers’ reactions to reduced ignition propensity cigarettes
Background: On 28 June 2004, New York State (NY) became the first jurisdiction to require cigarettes to meet a reduced ignition propensity (RIP) standard. This law resulted in cigarette manufacturers modifying nearly all of their brands sold in NY. However, the same cigarette brands sold in other states were not modified to meet the RIP standard.
Objectives: This paper examines relationships between the RIP law and smokers’ awareness of changes in the performance of their cigarettes (that is, going out more frequently, change in taste), and smoking behaviour.
Methods: Data for this analysis come from a nationwide survey of 2088 adult smokers (. 18 years of age) conducted in the USA between July and December 2004. 143 of the smokers included in the survey were residents of NY while the remainder were from other states (n = 1945). Survey participants were asked whether their cigarettes ‘‘ever go out between puffs’’ and whether they had noticed any change in the taste of their cigarettes in the past 12 months.
Results: NY smokers were three times more likely than smokers in other states to report that their cigarettes often went out between puffs (17.3% v 5.6%). However, NY smokers appeared no more likely to report noticing differences in cigarette taste, an intention to quit smoking, or to have made quit attempts.
Conclusions: A significant minority of smokers in NY reported noticing changes in the performance of their cigarettes following the RIP law, as would be expected. However, the RIP law appears to have had no impact on the smoking habits of New Yorkers, countering arguments made by cigarette manufacturers that the law would impact consumer acceptability.[download PDF]
Siahpush , et al. 2006. Socioeconomic and country variations in knowledge of health risks of tobacco smoking and toxic constituents of smoke: Results from the 2002 International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four Country Survey
Background: Socioeconomic status is strongly associated with smoking prevalence and social class differences contribute substantially to social inequalities in mortality. This research investigated socioeconomic and country variations in smokers’ knowledge that smoking causes heart disease, stroke, impotence and lung cancer, that smoke contains cyanide, mercury, arsenic and carbon monoxide, and whether nicotine causes most of the cancer.
Methods: Data were from the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four Country Survey, a cohort survey of over suppl_ adult smokers from four countries: the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Data were collected via telephone interviews in 2002.
Results: Higher education and income were associated with higher awareness. For example, the odds of knowing that smoking causes heart disease, stroke and lung cancer were respectively 71%, 34% and 83% larger for respondents with high versus low income. The odds of knowing that smoke contains cyanide, mercury, arsenic and carbon monoxide were respectively 66%, 26%, 44% and 108% larger for respondents with a university degree than those with a high school diploma or lower level of education. Results also revealed that awareness of harms of smoking was generally the highest in Canada and the lowest in the UK.
Conclusions: Lower socioeconomic status was associated with lower awareness of the harms of smoking and misunderstanding around nicotine. There is a need to improve knowledge of the dangers of smoking among the disadvantaged segments of the population.[download PDF]
Siahpush , et al. 2006. Socioeconomic variations in nicotine dependence, selfefficacy, and intention to quit across four countries: Findings from the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four Country Survey
Objective: To examine the effect of socioeconomic status (SES) on nicotine dependence, self-efficacy, and intention to quit.
Design setting and participants: Data were from the first wave (2002) of the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four Country Survey (ITC-4), a panel study of over 2000 adult smokers from each of four countries: the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Data were collected via telephone interviews.
Main outcome measures: Nicotine dependence, intention to quit, and self-efficacy to quit smoking were the main outcome measures used in this study.
Results: Lower levels of education were associated with higher nicotine dependence. The effect of lower income on higher heaviness of smoking index (HIS) scores was significant in Canada, the UK, and Australia. Respondents with low education had 35% larger odds of low self-efficacy than those with high education. Respondents with low education had 40% larger odds of having no intention to quit than those with high education. Respondents with low income had 23% larger odds of having no intention to quit than those with high income. Country was not a moderator of the association of SES with self-efficacy and intention to quit.
Conclusion: To the extent that lower SES smokers are more addicted, they are likely to need more intensive support if they are to be successful in their attempts to quit. Given their lower incomes, this places a special responsibility on government to provide or subsidise such services. This should include access to the widest possible range of effective pharmacotherapies complemented with evidence based counselling and support.[download PDF]
Thompson, et al. 2006. Methods of the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four Country Survey
This paper outlines the design features, data collection methods and analytic strategies of the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four Country Survey, a prospective study of more than 2000 longitudinal respondents per country with yearly replenishments. This survey possesses unique features that sets it apart among surveys on tobacco use and cessation. One of these features is the use of theory-driven conceptual models. In this paper, however, the focus is on the two key statistical features of the survey: longitudinal and “quasi-experimental” designs. Although it is often possible to address the same scientific questions with a cross-sectional or a longitudinal study, the latter has the major advantage of being able to distinguish changes over time within individuals from differences among people at baseline (that is, differences between age and cohort effects). Furthermore, quasi-experiments, where countries not implementing a given new tobacco control policy act as the control group to which the country implementing such a policy will be compared, provide much stronger evidence than observational studies on the effects of national-level tobacco control policies. In summary, application of rigorous research methods enables this survey to be a rich data resource, not only to evaluate policies, but also to gain new insights into the natural history of smoking cessation, through longitudinal analyses of smoker behaviour.[download PDF]
Thrasher, et al. 2006. Evaluación de las políticas contra el tabaquismo en países latinoamericanos en la era del Convenio Marco para el Control del Tabaco (in Spanish) [access full article]
Objective: The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) aims to coordinate tobacco control policies around the world that reduce tobacco consumption. The FCTC's recommended policies are likely to be effective in low- and middle-income countries. Nevertheless, policy evaluation studies are needed to determine policy impact and potential synergies across policies.
Materials and methods: The International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project (ITC) is an international collaboration to assess the psychosocial and behavioral impact of the FCTC's policies among adult smokers in nine countries. The ITC evaluation framework utilizes multiple country controls, a longitudinal design, and a theory-driven conceptual model to test hypotheses about the anticipated effects of given policies.
Results: ITC Project results generally confirm previous studies that form the evidence base for FCTC policy recommendations, in particular: the use of graphic warning labels; banning of "light" and "mild" descriptors; smoking bans; increasing tax and price; banning advertising; and using new cigarette product testing methods.
Conclusions: Initial findings from the ITC Project suggest that Latin American countries could use similar methods to monitor and evaluate their own tobacco control policies while contributing to the evidence base for policy interventions in other countries.[download PDF]
Young, et al. 2006. Prevalence and attributes of roll-your-own smokers in the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four Country Survey
Background: Roll-your-own (RYO) cigarettes are often substantially less expensive than factory made (FM) cigarettes, and appear to be increasing in popularity—perhaps because smokers seek out less expensive options to maintain their nicotine addiction. There is surprisingly little research available on the actual prevalence of RYO cigarette usage, and even less on the attributes of those who smoke RYO cigarettes.
Objectives: This study has two objectives: (1) to compare the prevalence of RYO versus FM cigarette usage among adult smokers in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States; and (2) to compare the attributes of exclusive FM smokers, exclusive RYO smokers, and those who report “mixed” RYO and FM use.
Design: The data were collected from the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four Country Survey (ITC-4), a random digit dialed telephone survey of representative samples of over 9046 adult smokers from the following four countries: Australia (n = 2301), Canada (n = 2,206), the UK (n = 2400), and the USA (n = 2,139), surveyed between October and December 2002, and on 6075 smokers followed-up, on average, seven months later.
Results: The prevalence of RYO cigarette usage varied widely across the four countries, with a low of 6.7% in the USA, to 28.4% in the UK. Exclusive use of RYO cigarettes was more common in the UK than in the other three countries. The use of RYO cigarettes was associated with having a lower annual income, male sex, younger average age, higher level of nicotine addiction, a stronger belief that RYO tobacco is less harmful compared to other forms of tobacco, and a more positive perception of tobacco use. Prevalence of RYO use was relatively stable within each of the four countries between the baseline and follow-up survey. RYO use was unrelated to quitting activity at follow-up, although mixed RYO users who had made a quit attempt were more likely to relapse than either exclusive FM or exclusive RYO smokers.
Conclusions: Patterns of RYO use vary considerably across Australia, Canada, the USA, and the UK. RYO smokers are a heterogeneous group; however, the factors associated with RYO use appear to be the same across the four countries studied.[download PDF]
Thompson, et al. 2005. Incorporating time-in-sample in longitiudinal survey models
Time-in-sample effects include rotation group biases, memory errors changing over time, and panel conditioning. It is clearly important to take such possibilities into account when designing and analyzing longitudinal survey data before and after an intervention. The question arises of how these effects can be separated from effects of attrition and the true impacts of intervention. It is suggested that using comparable control groups and newly recruited sample at each wave should help with modeling and identification of time-in-sample effects. We illustrate this with data from the International Tobacco Control Four Country Survey, a longitudinal survey of smokers in four countries in which tobacco control interventions are being introduced.[download PDF]
Older smokers represent an important subgroup that has been shown to benefit considerably from quitting smoking. However, to date little is known about relevant beliefs, intentions, and motivations. This study examined factors associated with older smokers' (aged 60 years and above) intention to quit smoking using data gathered via the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Survey (ITCPES), a random digit dialed telephone survey of over 9000 adult smokers from United Kingdom, United States, Canada, and Australia. Having smoked for a long time and having survived, it was hypothesized that older smokers would perceive themselves as being less vulnerable to the harm of smoking (self-exempting beliefs); be less concerned about the health effects of smoking; be less confident about being able to quit successfully (self-efficacy); not perceive any health benefit of quitting, and hence be less willing to want to quit. Controlling for possible confounders, the hypotheses were all confirmed. Further analysis into reported considerations for quitting revealed that price of cigarettes, health professional advice, cheap quitting medication, and information on health risks were important predictors of quitting intention, with cigarette price and cheap medication also associated with recent quit attempts. Together, these findings have important implications for developing strategies for encouraging older smokers to give up smoking.[download PDF]
Hammond, et al. 2004. Graphic Canadian cigarette warning labels and adverse outcomes: Evidence from Canadian smokers [access full article]
Objectives: We assessed the impact of graphic Canadian cigarette warning labels.
Methods: We used a longitudinal telephone survey of 616 adult smokers.
Results: Approximately one fifth of participants reported smoking less as a result of the labels; only 1% reported smoking more. Although participants reported negative emotional responses to the warnings including fear (44%) and disgust (58%), smokers who reported greater negative emotion were more likely to have quit, attempted to quit, or reduced their smoking 3 months later. Participants who attempted to avoid the warnings (30%) were no less likely to think about the warnings or engage in cessation behavior at follow-up.
Conclusions: Policymakers should not be reluctant to introduce vivid or graphic warnings for fear of adverse outcomes.[download PDF]