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Poorer Folks May Find It Harder to Quit Smoking

THURSDAY, Jan. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Quitting smoking is much more difficult for poor people than for those who have greater financial and social status, U.S. researchers have found.

For the study, more than 2,700 smokers were given nicotine patches and a type of treatment called cognitive-behavioral therapy, which is based on the idea that people can learn to change their behavior by changing their thinking patterns. The researchers then assessed the participants' progress in quitting smoking three and six months after the treatment period.

The investigators found that, compared to people with the lowest socioeconomic status, those with the highest socioeconomic status were 55 percent more likely to have quit smoking after three months, and 2.5 times more likely after six months. The term socioeconomic status takes into account factors such as income, education, occupation and where a person lives.

In addition, the study authors found that people with a low socioeconomic status received less treatment, and had fewer resources and less support to sustain abstinence from smoking.

The study findings were released online Thursday in advance of publication in the March print issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

The findings suggest efforts are needed to provide lower socioeconomic status groups with more treatment, and that strategies should target common challenges, such as stress levels and proximity to other smokers, Christine Sheffer, of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, and colleagues said in a journal news release.

More information

The American Cancer Society offers a guide to quitting smoking.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: American Journal of Public Health, news release, Jan. 19, 2012

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