Tobacco & Nicotine Products
An Examination of Trends in Tobacco Disparities by Socioeconomic Status in Minnesota
(UMD SPH Behavioral and Community Health Doctoral Student )
Objectives: Despite efforts to reduce the gap in health outcomes across groups, widening health disparities have been observed in Minnesota. This research examined whether observed declines in statewide smoking prevalence were experienced equally by all socioeconomic status groups. Methods: Data from the 2003, 2007, 2010, and 2014 Minnesota Adult Tobacco Survey were analyzed. Weighted regression analyses for smoking status, time to first cigarette, cigarettes per day, and other tobacco product use were conducted across education levels. Results: Controlling for age and gender, a decreased rate of smoking among high and middle education groups was offset by an increase in smoking in the low education group. There was no change in time to first cigarette but a decline in cigarettes per day in all education groups, and an increase in other tobacco products use in the lowest and middle education groups was observed. Conclusions: In states such as Minnesota where smoking disparities are increasing, innovative efforts are urgently needed. Complementing known population-level strategies with community and individual-level approaches are necessary to eliminate the widening gap in smoking disparities and to end the burden of tobacco-related disease for low SES populations.