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The 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health
Building capacity for a tobacco-free world
July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, USA
Objective: To examine the association of smoking status with perception of income inequality, relative material well-being and community-level social capital, controlling for individual-level indicators of social capital, and common socio-economic variables.
Methods: Data were from telephone interviews of approximately 126 residents selected at random (using the Electronic White Pages) from each of 22 local government areas (LGAs) in the Melbourne metropolitan region, Victoria, Australia (total n = 2762).
Results: Being a smoker was associated with a higher level of perceived income inequality, lower perception of relative material well-being and living in a community with a lower degree of trust and safety. The finding that one's perception of relative material well-being and income inequality affects smoking implies that society-wide increases in affluence may not bring about lower smoking prevalence and better health unless they are accompanied by policies that promote a more egalitarian society and a more equitable income distribution.