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Socioeconomic inequalities in youth smoking in Brazil
  1. Sandhi Maria Barreto1,
  2. Roberta Carvalho de Figueiredo1,
  3. Luana Giatti1,2
  1. 1Faculty of Medicine, Postgraduate Program in Public Health, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
  2. 2Department of Clinical and Social Nutrition, Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto, Ouro Preto, Brazil
  1. Correspondence to Professor Sandhi M Barreto; sandhi.barreto{at}


Objective The contribution of smoking to socioeconomic inequalities in health is increasing worldwide, including in Brazil. Youth smoking may play an important role in the increasing social inequalities related to smoking. This study investigates social determinants of smoking among 15-year-old to 19-year-old individuals.

Design Cross-sectional study.

Setting The study uses data of 3536 participants aged 15–19 years of age of the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) and the National Household Sample Survey (Pesquisa Nacional por Amostragem de Domicilio, PNAD) obtained from household interviews. Smoking was defined as currently smoking tobacco products, regardless of frequency. Household socioeconomic indicators included per capita income, the educational level and sex of the head of the household, the presence of smoking restrictions and the number of smokers (excluding adolescents). Adolescent social factors included years of delaying school and social status (full-time student, working, and neither working nor studying). The hierarchical logistic regression analysis considered the effect of the complex sampling design.

Results From 3536 participants, 6.2% were smokers (95% CI 5.4 to 7.1). More men than women had the habit of smoking (7.2%; 5.9 to 8.6 vs 3.6%; 2.7 to 4.6). The likelihood of smoking was significantly greater for men and older teens. There was an upward trend in the OR of smoking according to the number of smokers in the house. Adolescents living in households with no smoking restrictions had a greater likelihood of being smokers. OR of smoking rose as the number of years of delaying school increased, being about three times greater among adolescents who were working and five times greater among those who were neither studying nor working.

Conclusions Results demonstrate that socioeconomic inequality in smoking is established at younger ages and that school delay as well as school abandonment may contribute to increased smoking-related inequalities. Smoking restrictions at home were protective against adolescents becoming smokers. Living with other smokers was a strong predictor of adolescents becoming smokers.


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