Is the "Glasgow effect" of cigarette smoking explained by socio-economic status?: A multilevel analysis

Gray, Linsay; Leyland, Alastair H.
January 2009
BMC Public Health;2009, Vol. 9, p245
Academic Journal
Background: The Glasgow area has elevated levels of deprivation and is known for its poor health and associated negative health-related behaviours, which are socially patterned. Of interest is whether high smoking rates are explained by the area's socio-economic profile. Methods: Data on age, sex, current/previous smoking status, area deprivation, social class, education, economic activity, postcode sector, and health board region were available from Scottish Health Surveys conducted in 1995, 1998 and 2003. Multilevel logistic regression models were applied by sex, unadjusted and adjusted for age, survey year, and socio-economic factors, accounting for geographical hierarchy and missing data. Results: Compared with the rest of Scotland, men living in Greater Glasgow were 30% and women 43% more likely to smoke [odds ratio (OR) = 1.30, (95% CI = 1.08-1.56) and (OR = 1.43, CI = 1.22-1.68), respectively] before adjustment. In adjusted results, the association between living in Greater Glasgow and current smoking was attenuated [OR = 0.92, CI = 0.78-1.09 for men, and OR = 1.08, CI = 0.94-1.23 for women; results based on multiply imputed data to account for missing values remained borderline significant for women]. Accounting for individuals who had been told to give up smoking by a medical person/excluding ex-smokers did not alter results. Conclusion: High levels of smoking in Greater Glasgow were attributable to its poorer socioeconomic position and the strong social patterning of smoking. Tackling Glasgow's, and indeed Scotland's, poor health must involve policies to alleviate problems associated with poverty.


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