Scientific Journal Articles
Showing 76-100 of 157 Results
Adkison, et al. 2013. Impact of reduced ignition propensity cigarette regulation on consumer smoking behavior and quit intentions: Evidence from 6 waves (2004–11) of the ITC Four Country Survey
Background: Although on the decline, smoking-related fires remain a leading cause of fire death in the United States and United Kingdom and account for over 10% of fire-related deaths worldwide. This has prompted lawmakers to enact legislation requiring manufacturers to implement reduced ignition propensity (RIP) safety standards for cigarettes. The current research evaluates how implementation of RIP safety standards in different countries influenced smokers’ perceptions of cigarette selfextinguishment, frequency of extinguishment, and the impact on consumer smoking behaviors, including cigarettes smoked per day and planning to quit.
Methods: Participants for this research come from Waves 3 through 8 of the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four Country Survey conducted longitudinally from 2004 through 2011 in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada.
Results: Perceptions of cigarette self-extinguishment and frequency of extinguishment increased concurrently with an increase in the prevalence of RIP safety standards for cigarettes. Presence of RIP safety standards was also associated with a greater intention to quit smoking, but was not associated with the number of cigarettes smoked per day. Intention to quit was higher among those who were more likely to report that their cigarettes self-extinguish sometimes and often, but we found no evidence of an interaction between frequency of extinguishment and RIP safety standards on quit intentions.
Conclusions: Overall, because these standards largely do not influence consumer smoking behavior, RIP implementation may significantly reduce the number of cigarette-related fires and the associated death and damages. Further research should assess how implementation of RIP safety standards has influenced smoking-related fire incidence, deaths, and other costs associated with smoking-related fires.[download PDF]
Caleyachetty, et al. 2012. Struggling to make ends meet: exploring pathways to understand why smokers in financial difficulties are less likely to quit successfully [access full article]
Background: In high-income countries, those with low-to-middle incomes have been observing stagnating median wages and marginal improvements in their living standards. Smokers in financial difficulties appear to be less likely to quit smoking. Understanding the reasons for this is essential to intervening to improve cessation outcomes in this population, and reduce smoking-related health inequalities.
Methods: We used longitudinal data from Waves 4 to 7 of the ITC Four Country Survey (ITC-4), and included those with data from at least two consecutive waves. Associations between financial difficulties and making a quit attempt, and quit success were analysed using generalised estimating equations, with adjustment for confounders. Mediation analysis was conducted to identify potential mediators of the observed effects of financial difficulties on cessation outcomes.
Results: Having financial difficulties had little impact on making quit attempts (adjusted OR 0.84, 95% CI 0.70-1.01). Smokers with financial difficulties were substantially less likely to succeed at quitting (adjusted OR 0.55, 95% CI 0.39-0.76); an effect which was consistent over the survey years. Among the potential mediators examined, those relating to cognition of health-related and quality of life-related consequences of smoking were the most important mediators, though the proportion of the effect mediated by the largest mediator was small (6.8%).
Conclusion: Having financial difficulties remains an important barrier to smokers achieving quit success. This effect does not appear to be due to anticipated factors such as reduced use of cessation services or treatment. Further research is required to determine strong mediators of the financial difficulties effect on quit success and to tailor more effective cessation programmes.[download PDF]
Fotuhi, et al. 2012. Patterns of cognitive dissonance-reducing beliefs among smokers: A longitudinal analysis from the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four Country Survey [access full article]
Objective: The purpose of this paper is to assess whether smokers adjust their beliefs in a pattern that is consistent with Cognitive Dissonance Theory. This is accomplished by examining the longitudinal pattern of belief change among smokers as their smoking behaviours change.
Methods: A telephone survey was conducted of nationally representative samples of adult smokers from Canada, the USA, the UK and Australia from the International Tobacco Control Four Country Survey. Smokers were followed across three waves (October 2002 to December 2004), during which they were asked to report on their smoking-related beliefs and their quitting behaviour.
Findings: Smokers with no history of quitting across the three waves exhibited the highest levels of rationalisations for smoking. When smokers quit smoking, they reported having fewer rationalisations for smoking compared with when they had previously been smoking. However, among those who attempted to quit but then relapsed, there was once again a renewed tendency to rationalise their smoking. This rebound in the use of rationalisations was higher for functional beliefs than for risk-minimising beliefs, as predicted by social psychological theory.
Conclusions: Smokers are motivated to rationalise their behaviour through the endorsement of more positive beliefs about smoking, and these beliefs change systematically with changes in smoking status. More work is needed to determine if this cognitive dissonance-reducing function has an inhibiting effect on any subsequent intentions to quit.[download PDF]
Yong, et al. 2012. Stability of cigarette consumption over time among continuing smokers: A latent growth curve analysis
Objectives: This paper examined the stability over time of daily cigarette consumption of continuing smokers and explored factors that might account for the patterns of change in consumption using a latent growth curve (LGC) analytic approach.
Methods: Data come from the first 5 waves of the International Tobacco Control Four-Country Survey, conducted in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia where a cohort of over 2,000 smokers from each country were recruited and followed up annually with replenishment.
Results: Raw data revealed that continuing smokers showed a marked steep decline in cigarettes per day during the first 2 waves followed by a gentler linear decline in consumption over the remaining waves of the study period. This pattern of change in cigarette consumption was best modelled using a piecewise linear LGC model. Baseline consumption level was highest in Australia and lowest in the United Kingdom, although the rate of decline was similar across the 4 countries. Being older than 55 years and having made at least 1 quit attempt were related to greater rate of decline in consumption.
Conclusion: Continuing smokers who are unwilling or unable to quit smoking can and do attempt to reduce their daily cigarette consumption over time. Factors such as making a quit attempt even if unsuccessful and experiencing smoking bans at work and at homes can contribute to reduced smoking among this group, which suggests that interventions focusing in on these factors, along with providing cessation help, may greatly improve their chances of quitting smoking altogether.[download PDF]
Siahpush , et al. 2012. Tobacco expenditure, smoking-induced deprivation and financial stress: Results from the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four-Country Survey
Introduction and Aims: While higher tobacco prices lead to a reduction in smoking prevalence, there is a concern that paying more for cigarettes can lead to excess financial burden. Our primary aim was to examine the association of daily cigarette expenditure with smoking-induced deprivation (SID) and financial stress (FS).
Design and Methods: We used data from wave 7 (2008–2009) of the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four-Country Survey which is a survey of smokers in Canada, the USA, the UK and Australia (n = 5887). Logistic regressions were used to assess the association of daily cigarette expenditure with SID and FS.
Results: In multivariate analyses, a one standard deviation increase in daily cigarette expenditure was associated with an increase of 24% (P = 0.004) in the probability of experiencing SID. While we found no association between daily cigarette expenditure and FS, we found that SID is a strong predictor of FS (odds ratio 6.25; P < 0.001). This suggests that cigarette expenditure indirectly affects FS through SID. Results showed no evidence of an interaction between cigarette expenditure and income or education in their effect on SID or FS.
Conclusions: Our results imply that spending more on tobacco may result in SID but surprisingly has no direct effect on FS. While most smokers may be adjusting their incomes and consumption to minimise FS, some fail to do so occasionally as indexed by the SID measure. Future studies need to prospectively examine the effect of increased tobacco expenditure on financial burden of smokers.[download PDF]
Li, et al. 2012. The association between exposure to point-of-sale anti-smoking warnings and smokers’ interest in quitting and quit attempts: Findings from the International Tobacco Control Four Country Survey
Aims: This study aimed to examine the associations between reported exposure to anti-smoking warnings at the point-of-sale (POS) and smokers’ interest in quitting and their subsequent quit attempts by comparing reactions in Australia where warnings are prominent to smokers in other countries.
Design: A prospective multi-country cohort design was employed.
Setting: Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Participants: A total of 21 613 adult smokers who completed at least one of the seven waves (2002–08) of the International Tobacco Control Four Country Survey were included in the analysis.
Measurements: Reported exposure to POS anti-smoking warnings and smokers’ interest in quitting at the same wave and quit attempts over the following year.
Findings: Compared to smokers in Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States, Australian smokers reported higher levels of awareness of POS anti-smoking warnings, and this difference was consistent over the study period. Over waves in Australia (but not in the other three countries) there was a significantly positive association between reported exposure to POS anti-smoking warnings and interest in quitting [adjusted odds ratio = 1.139, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.039–1.249, P < 0.01] and prospective quit attempts (adjusted odds ratio = 1.216, 95% CI 1.114–1.327, P < 0.001) when controlling for demographics, smoking characteristics, overall salience of anti-smoking information and awareness of anti-smoking material from channels other than POS.
Conclusions: Point-of-sale health warnings about tobacco are more prominent in Australia than the United Kingdom, the United States or Canada and appear to act as a prompt to quitting.[download PDF]
Borland, et al. 2012. How much unsuccessful quitting activity is going on among adult smokers? Data from the International Tobacco Control Four Country cohort survey
Aims: To document accurately the amount of quitting, length of quit attempts and prevalence of plans and serious thought about quitting among smokers.
Design: We used longitudinal data from 7 waves of the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Four Country Survey (ITC-4). We considered point-prevalence data and cumulative prevalence over the 7 years of the study. We also derived annual estimates of quit activity from reports of quit attempts starting only within more recent time-frames, to control for biased recall.
Setting: Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Participants: A total of 21 613 smokers recruited across seven waves.
Measurements: Reported life-time quit attempts, annual quit attempts, length of attempts, time since last attempt started, frequency of aborted attempts, plans to quit and serious thought about quitting.
Findings: Around 40.1% (95% CI: 39.6–40.6) of smokers report attempts to quit in a given year and report an average of 2.1 attempts. Based on free recall, this translates to an average annual quit attempt rate of 0.82 attempts per smoker. Estimates derived only from the preceding month to adjust for recall bias indicate an annual rate of approximately one attempt per smoker. There is a high prevalence of quitrelated activity, with more than a third of smokers reporting thoughts or actions related to quitting in a given month. More than half the surveyed smokers eventually succeeded in quitting for at least 1 month, and a majority of these for over 6 months.
Conclusions: Smokers think a great deal about stopping and make many unsuccessful quit attempts. Many have been able to last for extended periods and yet they still relapsed. More attention needs to be focused on translating quit-related activity into long-term abstinence.[download PDF]
Hall, et al. 2012. Do time perspective and sensation-seeking predict quitting activity among smokers? Findings from the Interntational Tobacco Control (ITC) Four Country Survey
Personality factors such as time perspective and sensation-seeking have been shown to predict smoking uptake. However, little is known about the influences of these variables on quitting behavior, and no prior studies have examined the association cross-nationally in a large probability sample. In the current study it was hypothesized that future time perspective would enhance – while sensation-seeking would inhibit – quitting activity among smokers. It was anticipated that the effects would be similar across English speaking countries. Using a prospective cohort design, this cross-national study of adult smokers (N=8845) examined the associations among time perspective, sensation-seeking and quitting activity using the first three waves of data gathered from the International Tobacco Control Four Country Survey (ITC-4), a random digit dialed telephone survey of adult smokers from the United Kingdom, United States, Canada and Australia. Findings revealed that future time perspective (but not sensation-seeking) was a significant predictor of quitting attempts over the 8-month follow-up after adjusting for socio-demographic variables, factors known to inhibit quitting (e.g., perceived addiction, enjoyment of smoking, and perceived value of smoking), and factors known to enhance quitting (e.g., quit intention strength, perceived benefit of quitting, concerns about health effects of smoking). The latter, particularly intention, were significant mediators of the effect of time perspective on quitting activity. The effects of time perspective on quitting activity were similar across all four English speaking countries sampled. If these associations are causal in nature, it may be the case that interventions and health communications that enhance future-orientation may foster more quit attempts among current smokers.[download PDF]
Borland, et al. 2012. Cessation assistance reported by smokers in 15 countries participating in the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Policy Evaluation Surveys
Aims: To describe some of the variability across the world in levels of quit smoking attempts and use of various forms of cessation support.
Design: Use of the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project surveys of smokers, using the 2007 survey wave (or later, where necessary).
Settings: Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Ireland, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea, Thailand, United Kingdom, Uruguay and United States.
Participants: Samples of smokers from 15 countries.
Measurements: Self-report on use of cessation aids and on visits to health professionals and provision of cessation advice during the visits.
Findings: Prevalence of quit attempts in the last year varied from less than 20% to more than 50% across countries. Similarly, smokers varied greatly in reporting visiting health professionals in the last year (<20% to over 70%), and among those who did, provision of advice to quit also varied greatly. There was also marked variability in the levels and types of help reported. Use of medication was generally more common than use of behavioural support, except where medications are not readily available.
Conclusions: There is wide variation across countries in rates of attempts to stop smoking and use of assistance with higher overall use of medication than behavioural support. There is also wide variation in the provision of brief advice to stop by health professionals.[download PDF]
Brown, et al. 2012. Support for removal of point-of-purchase tobacco advertising and displays: Findings from the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Canada Survey
Background: Although most countries now have at least some restrictions on tobacco marketing, the tobacco industry meet these restrictions by re-allocating expenditure to unregulated channels, such as at point-of-purchase.
Methods: Longitudinal data from 10 Canadian provinces in the International Tobacco Control Survey was analysed to examine adult smokers' support for a ban on tobacco advertising and displays in stores and whether this support is associated with noticing either advertising or displays in stores, and quit intentions, over time. In total, there were 4580 respondents in wave 5 (October 2006 to February 2007), wave 6 (September 2007 to February 2008) and wave 7 (October 2008 to June 2009). The surveys were conducted before, during and in some cases after the implementation of display bans in most Canadian provinces and territories.
Results: Smokers in all provinces showed strong support for a ban on tobacco displays over the study period. Levels of support for an advertising and display ban were comparable between Canadian provinces over time, irrespective of whether they had been banned or not. Noticing tobacco displays and signs in-store was demonstrably less likely to predict support for display (OR=0.73, p=0.005) and advertising (OR=0.78, p=0.02) ban, respectively. Smokers intending to quit were more likely to support advertising and display bans over time.
Conclusion: This study serves as a timely reminder that the implementation of tobacco control measures, such as the removal of tobacco displays, appear to sustain support among smokers, those most likely to oppose such measures.[download PDF]
Young, et al. 2012. Trends in roll-your-own smoking: Findings from the ITC Four-Country Survey (2002–2008)
Objective: To establish the trends in prevalence, and correlates, of roll-your-own (RYO) use in Canada, USA, UK and Australia, 2002–2008.
Methods: Participants were 19,456 cigarette smokers interviewed during the longitudinal International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four-Country Survey in Canada, USA, UK, and Australia.
Results: “Predominant” RYO use (i.e., >50% of cigarettes smoked) increased significantly in the UK and USA as a proportion of all cigarette use (both P < .001) and in all countries as a proportion of any RYO use (all P < .010). Younger, financially stressed smokers are disproportionately contributing to “some” use (i.e., ≤50% of cigarettes smoked). Relative cost was the major reason given for using RYO, and predominant RYO use is consistently and significantly associated with low income.
Conclusion: RYO market trends reflect the price advantages accruing to RYO (a product of favourable taxation regimes in some jurisdictions reinforced by the enhanced control over the amount of tobacco used), especially following the impact of the Global Financial Crisis; the availability of competing low-cost alternatives to RYO; accessibility of duty-free RYO tobacco; and tobacco industry niche marketing strategies. If policy makers want to ensure that the RYO option does not inhibit the fight to end the tobacco epidemic, especially amongst the disadvantaged, they need to reduce the price advantage, target additional health messages at (young) RYO users, and challenge niche marketing of RYO by the industry.[download PDF]
Borland, et al. 2012. Systematic biases in cross-sectional community studies may underestimate the effectiveness of stop-smoking medications
Introduction: Randomized, controlled trials typically indicate stop-smoking medications (SSMs: e.g., Varenicline, Bupropion, and over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapies) to be effective, whereas cross-sectional community-based studies have found them to be less effective, ineffective, or even associated with higher risk of relapse. Consequently, some critics have suggested SSMs have no useful applications in “real-world” settings. This discrepancy may, however, be due to systematic biases affecting cross-sectional survey outcomes. Namely, failed quit attempts where SSMs were used may be better recalled than failed unassisted attempts. Moreover, smokers who choose to quit using SSMs may be more addicted and thus less likely to succeed. Either of these factors would lead to an overrepresentation of failed quit attempts among SSM users in cross-sectional surveys even if there were real benefits.
Methods: We report on data from the International Tobacco Control 4-country cohort study to examine the relationship between SSM use, level of nicotine addiction, and the reported date since the start of participants’ (N = 1,101) most recent quit attempt.
Results: The last quit attempt was reported to have begun longer ago among participants who used SSMs than those who did not. Scores on the Heaviness of Smoking Index, measuring addiction severity, were also higher among SSM users, with no interactions.
Conclusion: Better recall of quit attempts and stronger addiction to nicotine are two characteristics found more often among smokers using SSMs compared with self-quitters, which could potentially bias the assessed effects of SSMs on cessation outcomes in cross-sectional surveys.[download PDF]
Ross, et al. 2011. Predictors of what smokers say they will do in response to future price increases. Findings from the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four Country Survey [access full article]
Introduction: Given the impact of higher tobacco prices on smoking cessation, we studied the role of future cigarette prices on forming expectation about smoking behavior.
Methods: Using a random sample of 9,058 adult cigarette smokers from the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom collected in 2002, we examined predictors of what smokers say they will do in response to a hypothetical 50% increase in the price they paid for their last cigarette purchase. A series of regression analyses examined factors associated with intentions that have a positive impact on health, that is, intentions to quit and/or to consume fewer cigarettes.
Results: The quit and/or smoke less intentions were more pronounced among those who lived in areas with higher average cigarette prices and who paid higher prices for their brand of choice during the last purchase. The magnitude of the price increase is a more important predictor of an intention to quit/smoke less compared with the average cigarette price.
Conclusions: The availability of alternative (cheaper) cigarette sources may reduce but would not eliminate the impact of higher prices/taxes on smokers’ expected behavior that has been linked to actual quit intentions and quitting in follow-up surveys.[download PDF]
Licht, et al. 2011. How do price minimizing behaviors impact smoking cessation? Findings from the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four Country Survey [access full article]
This paper examines how price minimizing behaviors impact efforts to stop smoking. Data on 4,988 participants from the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation (ITC) Four-Country Survey who were smokers at baseline (wave 5) and interviewed at a 1 year follow-up were used. We examined whether price minimizing behaviors at baseline predicted: (1) cessation, (2) quit attempts, and (3) successful quit attempts at one year follow up using multivariate logistic regression modeling. A subset analysis included 3,387 participants who were current smokers at waves 5 and 6 and were followed through wave 7 to explore effects of changing purchase patterns on cessation. Statistical tests for interaction were performed to examine the joint effect of SES and price/tax avoidance behaviors on cessation outcomes. Smokers who engaged in any price/tax avoidance behaviors were 28% less likely to report cessation. Persons using low/untaxed sources were less likely to quit at follow up, those purchasing cartons were less likely to make quit attempts and quit, and those using discount cigarettes were less likely to succeed, conditional on making attempts. Respondents who utilized multiple behaviors simultaneously were less likely to make quit attempts and to succeed. SES did not modify the effects of price minimizing behaviors on cessation outcomes. The data from this paper indicate that the availability of lower priced cigarette alternatives may attenuate public health efforts aimed at to reduce reducing smoking prevalence through price and tax increases among all SES groups.[download PDF]
Ross, et al. 2011. Do cigarette prices motivate smokers to quit? New evidence from the ITC Survey [access full article]
Aims: To examine the importance of cigarette prices in influencing smoking cessation and the motivation to quit.
Design: We use longitudinal data from three waves of the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Survey (ITC). The study contrasts smoking cessation and motivation to quit among US and Canadian smokers and evaluates how this relationship is modified by cigarette prices, nicotine dependence and health knowledge. Different price measures are used to understand how the ability to purchase cheaper cigarettes may reduce the influence of prices. Our first model examines whether cigarette prices affect motivation to quit smoking using Generalized Estimating Equations to predict cessation stage and a least squares model to predict the change in cessation stage. The second model evaluates quitting behavior over time. The probability of quitting is estimated with Generalized Estimating Equations and a transition model to account for the ‘left-truncation’ of the data.
Settings: US and Canada. Participants 4352 smokers at Wave 1, 2000 smokers completing all three waves. Measurements Motivation to quit, cigarette prices, nicotine dependence and health knowledge. Findings Smokers living in areas with higher cigarette prices are significantly more motivated to quit. There is limited evidence to suggest that price increases over time may also increase quit motivation. Higher cigarette prices increase the likelihood of actual quitting, with the caveat that results are statistically significant in one out of two models. Access to cheaper cigarette sources does not impede cessation although smokers would respond more aggressively (in terms of cessation) to price increases if cheaper cigarette sources were not available.
Conclusions: This research provides a unique opportunity to study smoking cessation among adult smokers and their response to cigarette prices in a market where they are able to avoid tax increases by purchasing cigarettes from cheaper sources. Higher cigarette prices appear to be associated with greater motivation to stop smoking, an effect which does not appear to be mitigated by cheaper cigarette sources. The paper supports the use of higher prices as a means of encouraging smoking cessation and motivation to quit.[download PDF]
Kasza, et al. 2011. The effectiveness of tobacco marketing regulations on reducing smokers’ exposure to advertising and promotion: Findings from the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four Country Survey [access full article]
Exposure to tobacco product marketing promotes the initiation, continuation, and reuptake of cigarette smoking and as a result the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) has called upon member Parties to enact comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising and promotion. This study examines the immediate and long term effectiveness of advertising restrictions enacted in different countries on exposure to different forms of product marketing, and examines differences in exposure across different socioeconomic status (SES) groups. Nationally representative data from the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and the United States, collected from adult smokers between 2002 and 2008 using the International Tobacco Control Four Country Survey (ITC-4), were used in this study (N = 21,615). In light of the specific marketing regulation changes that occurred during the course of this study period, changes in awareness of tobacco marketing via various channels were assessed for each country, and for different SES groups within countries. Tobacco marketing regulations, once implemented, were associated with significant reductions in smokers’ reported awareness of prosmoking cues, and the observed reductions were greatest immediately following the enactment of regulations. Changes in reported awareness were generally the same across different SES groups, although some exceptions were noted. While tobacco marketing regulations have been effective in reducing exposure to certain types of product marketing there still remain gaps, especially with regard to in-store marketing and price promotions.[download PDF]
Licht, et al. 2011. Socio-economic variation in price minimizing behaviors: Findings from the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four Country Survey [access full article]
This paper examines how socio-economic status (SES) modifies how smokers adjust to changes in the price of tobacco products through utilization of multiple price minimizing techniques. Data come from the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation (ITC) Four Country Survey, nationally representative samples of adult smokers and includes respondents from Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. Cross-sectional analyses were completed among 8,243 respondents (7,038 current smokers) from the survey wave conducted between October 2006 and February 2007. Analyses examined predictors of purchasing from low/untaxed sources, using discount cigarettes or roll-your-own (RYO) tobacco, purchasing cigarettes in cartons, and engaging in high levels of price and tax avoidance at last purchase. All analyses tested for interactions with SES and were weighted to account for changing and under-represented demographics. Relatively high levels of price and tax avoidance behaviors were present; 8% reported buying from low or untaxed source; 36% used discount or generic brands, 13.5% used RYO tobacco, 29% reported purchasing cartons, and 63% reported using at least one of these high price avoidance behaviors. Respondents categorized as having low SES were approximately 26% less likely to report using low or untaxed sources and 43% less likely to purchase tobacco by the carton. However, respondents with low SES were 85% more likely to report using discount brands/RYO compared to participants with higher SES. Overall, lower SES smokers were 25% more likely to engage in at least one or more tax avoidance behaviors compared to their higher SES counterparts. Price and tax avoidance behaviors are relatively common among smokers of all SES strata, but strategies differed with higher SES groups more likely to report traveling to a low-tax location to avoid paying higher prices, purchase duty free tobacco, and purchase by cartons instead of packs all of which were less commonly reported by low SES smokers. Because of the strategies lower SES respondents are more likely to use, reducing price differentials between discount and premium brands may have a greater impact on them, potentially increasing the likelihood of quitting.[download PDF]
Kennedy, et al. 2011. Knowledge about the relationship between smoking and blindness in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia: Results from the International Tobacco Control Four- Country Project
Purpose: Smoking is causally associated with certain prevalent visually impairing eye diseases, including age-related macular degeneration and cataract. Studies have found that people are afraid of ‘‘going blind’’ and may be motivated to quit smoking if they know that vision loss is associated with smoking behavior.
Methods: A random-digit dialed telephone survey was used to measure health knowledge of adult smokers in Canada (n=2,765), the United States (n=3,178), the United Kingdom (n=2,767), and Australia (n=2,623) as part of the International Tobacco Control Four-Country Project.
Results: A low proportion of smokers from Canada (13.0%), the United States (9.5%), and the United Kingdom (9.7%) believed that smoking can cause blindness. In contrast, 47.2% of Australian smokers believed that smoking causes blindness. Australia was the only country during the sampling period to have national awareness campaigns about smoking and its effects on eye health.
Conclusion: These findings point to the need across countries to educate the public on this important consequence of smoking. There is an opportunity for the public health and eye health communities to work to educate the public about the impacts smoking has on eye health to improve quit rates and help discourage people from starting to smoke.[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]
Balmford, et al. 2011. Adherence to and reasons for premature discontinuation from stop-smoking medications: Data from the ITC Four-Country Survey
Introduction: Nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) have been demonstrated to be effective in clinical trials but may have lower efficacy when purchased over-the-counter (OTC). Premature discontinuation and insufficient dosing have been offered as possible explanations. The aims are to (a) investigate the prevalence of and reasons for premature discontinuation of stop-smoking medications (including prescription only) and (b) how these differ by type, duration of use, and source (prescription or OTC).
Methods: The sample includes 1,219 smokers or recent quitters who had used medication in the last year (80.5% NRT, 19.5% prescription only). Data were from Waves 5 and 6 of the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four-Country Survey.
Results: Most of the sample (69.1%) discontinued medication use prematurely. This was more common among NRT users (71.4%) than in users of bupropion and varenicline (59.6%). OTC NRT users were particularly likely to discontinue (76.3%). Relapse back to smoking was the most common reason for discontinuation of medication reported by 41.6% of respondents. Side effects (18.3%) and believing that the medication was no longer needed (17.1%) were also commonly reported. Of those who completed treatment, 37.9% achieved 6-month continuous abstinence compared with 15.6% who discontinued prematurely. Notably, 65.6% who discontinued because they believed the medication had worked were abstinent.
Conclusions: Premature discontinuation of stop-smoking medications is common but is not a plausible reason for poorer quit outcomes for most people. Encouraging persistence of medication use after relapse or in the face of minor side effects may help increase long-term cessation outcomes.[download PDF]
Borland, et al. 2011. Trends in beliefs about the harmfulness and use of stop-smoking medications and smokeless tobacco products among cigarettes smokers: Findings from the ITC Four-Country Survey
Background: Evidence shows that smokers are generally misinformed about the relative harmfulness of nicotine, and smokeless forms of nicotine delivery in relation to smoked tobacco. This study explores changing trends in the beliefs about the harmfulness and use of stop smoking medications and smokeless tobacco in adult smokers in four countries where public education and access to alternative forms of nicotine is varied (Canada, the US, the UK and Australia).
Methods: Data are from seven waves of the ITC-4 country study conducted between 2002 and 2009 with adult smokers from Canada, the US, the UK and Australia. For the purposes of this study, data were collected from 21,207 current smokers. Using generalised estimating equations to control for multiple response sets, multivariate models were tested to look for main effects of country, and trends across time, controlling for demographic variables.
Results: Knowledge remained low in all countries, although UK smokers tended to be better informed. There was a small but significant improvement across time in the UK, but mixed effects in the other three countries. At the final wave, between 37.5% (US) and 61.4% (UK) reported that NRT is a lot less harmful than cigarettes. In Canada and the US, where smokeless tobacco is marketed, only around one in six believed some smokeless tobacco products could be less harmful than cigarettes.
Conclusions: Many smokers continue to be misinformed about the relative safety of nicotine and alternatives to smoked tobacco, especially in the US and Canada. Concerted efforts to educate UK smokers have probably improved their knowledge. Further research is required to assess whether misinformation deters smokers from appropriate use of alternative forms of nicotine.[download PDF]
Fix, et al. 2011. Usage patterns of stop smoking medications in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States: Findings from the 2006–2008 International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four Country Survey
Varenicline is a new prescription stop smoking medication (SSM) that has been available in the United States since August 1, 2006, in the United Kingdom and other European Union countries since December 5, 2006, in Canada since April 12, 2007, and in Australia since January 1, 2008. There are few population-based studies that have examined use rates of varenicline and other stop smoking medications. We report data from the ITC Four Country survey conducted with smokers in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia who reported an attempt to quit smoking in past year in the 2006 survey (n = 4,022 participants), 2007 (n = 3,790 participants), and 2008 surveys (n = 2,735 participants) Respondents reported use of various stop smoking medications to quit smoking at each survey wave, along with demographic and smoker characteristics. The self-reported use of any stop smoking medication has increased significantly over the 3 year period in all 4 countries, with the sharpest increase occurring in the United States. Varenicline has become the second most used stop smoking medication, behind NRT, in all 4 countries since being introduced. Between 2006 and 2008, varenicline use rates increased from 0.4% to 21.7% in the US, 0.0% to 14.8% in Canada, 0.0% to 14.5% in Australia, and 0.0% to 4.4% in the UK. In contrast, use of NRT and bupropion remained constant in each country. Males and non-whites were significantly less likely to report using any SSM, while more educated smokers were significantly more likely to use any SSM, including varenicline. Our findings suggest that the introduction of varenicline led to an increase in the number of smokers who used evidence-based treatment during their quit attempts, rather than simply gaining market share at the expense of other medications. From a public health perspective, messages regarding increased success rates among medication users and the relative safety of stop smoking medications should be disseminated widely so as to reach all smokers of all socioeconomic classifications equally.[download PDF]
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]
Hitchman, et al. 2011. Support and correlates of support for banning smoking in cars with children: Findings from the ITC Four Country Survey
Background: Since 2006, banning smoking in cars with children has become a rapidly growing tobacco control policy. However, to date, there have been few studies examining support and correlates of support for car smoking bans, and none of the existing studies have been international in nature. We conducted such a study among smokers in four countries.
Methods: 6716 adult current smokers from the 2007 Wave of the International Tobacco Control Four Country Survey, a nationally representative, longitudinal cohort telephone survey of smokers in the USA, Canada, UK and Australia. Controlling for demographics, heaviness of smoking, smoking health knowledge/beliefs and quit intentions, we compared support and correlates of support for banning smoking in cars with children across the four countries.
Results: The majority of smokers supported banning smoking in cars with children. Support was highest in Australia (83%), followed by the UK (75%) and Canada (74%); support was lower—but still high—in the USA (60%). Support was highest among smokers who: had stronger quit intentions, were lighter smokers, had lower education, had no children in the home, believed that cigarette smoke is dangerous to non-smokers and could cause asthma in children, and were concerned about modelling smoking to children.
Conclusions: These findings indicate that a majority of smokers in the four countries support banning smoking in cars with children, and lend support to banning smoking in cars with children. Additionally, they suggest that support may be increased by educating smokers about the dangers of cigarette smoke exposure.[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]