Tobacco control approaches and inequity-how far have we come and where are we going?

Kate R. Purcell, Kerryn O'Rourke, Maya Rivis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite Australia's success in reducing smoking rates, substantial inequities persist-with high smoking prevalence among disadvantaged groups. This article uses Fair Foundations: The VicHealth framework for health equity to identify promising strategies for promoting equity within tobacco control policies and programmes. A rapid review of the Australian and international literature was conducted in March 2014 using Pubmed, ISI web of Science and Scopus, Cochrane library and Google Scholar. A search of the grey literature was conducted to identify promising policy interventions. Population health surveys suggest that tobacco-related inequities in Victoria are beginning to decline. Data from the Victorian Smoking Survey shows that the inequity gap is narrowing, and in recent years, the prevalence of regular smoking declined fastest among disadvantaged smokers. Future approaches to accelerate reductions in tobacco-related inequities include: (i) continue proven population-based tobacco control policies-especially increasing the price of tobacco (while remaining cognisant of the increased economic burden for those smokers who do not quit), and continuing mass media campaigns; (ii) strengthening social policies to promote equity in early child development; educational experiences; quality of local environments; employment and working conditions; (iii) identifying and investing in targeted approaches to influence social norms and more effectively identify and support disadvantaged smokers to quit; (iv) within tobacco control programmes, give greatest priority to interventions focused on adult smokers (including pregnant women and their partners).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)ii89-ii101
JournalHealth Promotion International
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2015
Externally publishedYes


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