The study highlighted that people in lower socioeconomic groups tend to be less likely to quit smoking than their peers in higher groups.
“We know smoking has directly adverse effects on human health. Based on the study, it can be said that if this trend continues, so too will the growth of health inequalities,” said Otto Ruokolainen, an expert at the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) and author of the study based on the findings indicating that this gap has already grown. The research also indicated that increasing tobacco prices is a motivating factor for smokers to quit.
The study analysed population data covering a 40-year period from 1978 to 2017, and the number of respondents across the different surveys varied from fewer than 1,000 to around 400,000.
Consistent with data from around the world, the research highlighted that people in lower socioeconomic groups tend to be less likely to quit smoking than their peers in higher groups. Ruokolainen said that government policies should take note of this gap and address it.
“There should be better support for smokers and a particular focus on supporting people in lower socioeconomic groups in order to reduce their smoking to the same level as those in higher groups,” he said.
Similar findings from across the globe
Similar findings were also reported by an Australian paper. Led by researchers from the Australian National University, the study compiled data from 1,388 Aboriginal people from New South Wales, who participated in the 45 and UP study, a longitudinal study run by the Sax Institute of 267,153 people, randomly selected from the NSW population.
The compiled data indicated that half of all deaths amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the age of 45, were tragically caused by smoking-related illnesses, equating to about 10,000 premature preventable deaths. This means that smokers in these groups, are dying approximately 10 years earlier than non-smokers.
Read Further: YLE
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