Heterogeneities in the production of health: smoking, health status and place Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • The harmful effects of smoking on health are well-established. However, little attention has been given to possible variations in the size of the association within populations. In this paper, we test for neighbourhood variation in the smoking-health relationship. We estimate equations to explain variations in self-reported health using data from a survey of adults in four distinct neighbourhood clusters in Hamilton, Ontario. After controlling for neighbourhood composition, the probability of being unhealthy remained significantly higher in the two lower socioeconomic status neighbourhoods (North East and Downtown) than in the rest of the city. The smoking-health association was not the result of more smokers living in less healthy neighbourhoods. In the Downtown neighbourhood, the relative odds of being unhealthy among smokers compared to non-smokers was less than one-half of the corresponding relative odds in the rest of the city. Although smoking represents a health risk for individuals in all neighbourhoods, for individuals living in the Downtown neighbourhood the size of this risk is substantially smaller than for individuals in other neighbourhoods.

publication date

  • June 2005

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