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OBJECTIVE—To investigate socioeconomic differences in intermittent and daily smoking, and to assess the association between social participation and these two smoking behaviours.
DESIGN/SETTING/PARTICIPANTS/MEASUREMENTS—A population of 11 837 individuals interviewed in 1992-94, aged 45-64 years, was investigated in this cross sectional study. A multivariate logistic regression model was used to assess socioeconomic differences in daily and intermittent smoking, adjusting for age, country of origin, previous/current diseases, and marital status. Finally, social participation as a measure of social capital was introduced in the multivariate model.
RESULTS—When unskilled manual workers were compared to high level non-manual employees, odds ratios of 2.3 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.7 to 3.0) for men and 1.9 (95% CI 1.4 to 2.5) for women were found in regard to daily smoking, but odd ratios of only 0.7 (95% CI 0.4 to 1.2) for men and 1.3 (95% CI 0.7 to 2.4) for women were found in regard to intermittent smoking. A decrease in the daily smoking odds ratios was found when social participation was introduced in the model, while the odds ratios regarding intermittent smoking were unaffected.
CONCLUSIONS—There were no socioeconomic differences in intermittent smoking and no association with social participation, a result that contrasts sharply with the patterns of daily smoking. These findings have important implications for the discussion concerning social capital and preventive measures.
Keywords: intermittent smoking; daily smoking; socioeconomic status; social participation; social capital