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Tobacco use among low-income housing residents: does hardship motivate quit attempts?



The purpose of this study was to examine material hardship among smokers to determine whether such hardship was positively associated with current attempts to quit tobacco use.


We analyzed cross-sectional data from the Health in Common (HIC) study, an observational study to investigate social and physical determinants of cancer risk-related behaviors among residents of low-income housing in three cities in the Boston metropolitan area. In this study, three indicators of hardship were used: food hardship, financial hardship, and material hardship (food and financial hardship combined). Logistic regression models were used to obtain the odds of currently trying to quit among current smokers in the HIC (n = 170) across hardship types experienced, adjusting for sociodemographic and psychosocial factors.


Fully adjusted models revealed no statistically significant association between trying to quit tobacco use and indicators of material hardship: food hardship and financial hardship present (OR 1.33 (0.42–4.2); food hardship and no financial hardship OR 3.83 (0.97–15.13); and financial hardship but no food hardship OR 0.5 (0.1–2.39).


These findings suggest that even in the presence of material hardship, low-income housing resident tobacco users are not more likely to quit tobacco use; therefore, cessation efforts focused on the financial benefits of quitting may be insufficient to motivate quit attempts among low-income smokers.

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The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This project was supported by funding from National Cancer Institute Grants 5RO1CA111310-04 and 5K05CA108663-05. (Principal Investigator: G. Sorensen). Dr. Tucker-Seeley is supported by K01 career development award (Grant# CA169041-01).

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Correspondence to R. D. Tucker-Seeley.

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Tucker-Seeley, R.D., Selk, S., Adams, I. et al. Tobacco use among low-income housing residents: does hardship motivate quit attempts?. Cancer Causes Control 26, 1699–1707 (2015).

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  • Hardship
  • Tobacco use
  • Low income
  • Public housing