Understanding the complexity of socioeconomic disparities in smoking prevalence in sweden: A cross-sectional study applying intersectionality theory

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Abstract

Objectives Socioeconomic disparities in smoking prevalence remain a challenge to public health. The objective of this study was to present a simple methodology that displays intersectional patterns of smoking and quantify heterogeneities within groups to avoid inappropriate and potentially stigmatising conclusions exclusively based on group averages. Setting This is a cross-sectional observational study based on data from the National Health Surveys for Sweden (2004-2016 and 2018) including 136 301 individuals. We excluded people under 30 years of age, or missing information on education, household composition or smoking habits. The final sample consisted on 110 044 individuals or 80.7% of the original sample. Outcome Applying intersectional analysis of individual heterogeneity and discriminatory accuracy (AIHDA), we investigated the risk of self-reported smoking across 72 intersectional strata defined by age, gender, educational achievement, migration status and household composition. Results The distribution of smoking habit risk in the population was very heterogeneous. For instance, immigrant men aged 30-44 with low educational achievement that lived alone had a prevalence of smoking of 54% (95% CI 44% to 64%), around nine times higher than native women aged 65-84 with high educational achievement and living with other(s) that had a prevalence of 6% (95% CI 5% to 7%). The discriminatory accuracy of the information was moderate. Conclusion A more detailed, intersectional mapping of the socioeconomic and demographic disparities of smoking can assist in public health management aiming to eliminate this unhealthy habit from the community. Intersectionality theory together with AIHDA provides information that can guide resource allocation according to the concept proportionate universalism.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere042323
JournalBMJ Open
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology

Keywords

  • Epidemiology
  • Health policy
  • Public health
  • Social medicine
  • Statistics & research methods
  • Substance misuse

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