Smoking among adults with and without disabilities in the UK

Eric Emerson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The health risks of cigarette smoking are well established. As a result, reducing cigarette smoking is a key concern for public health agencies. Little is known about rates of smoking among adults with disabilities. Methods: Secondary analysis of data collected in Waves 2 and 7 of 'Understanding Society', an annual household panel study. Results: Age and gender adjusted odds ratios (AORs) of adults with disabilities smoking increased significantly from 1.41 (1.33-1.49) in 2010-12 to 1.57 (1.45-1.70) in 2015-17 (P = 0.032). AORs of adults with disabilities smoking 20 or more cigarettes a day increased non-significantly from 1.83 (1.66-2.02) in 2010-12 to 1.90 (1.65-2.20) in 2015-17. These changes were evident for both men and women and across age groups. Additionally adjusting these estimates to take account of between group differences in socioeconomic position significantly reduced the AORs for both smoking outcomes. Changes over time in AORs reflected a more rapid decline in smoking among participants without a disability. Conclusions: Adults with disabilities are more likely than their peers to smoke. Public health agencies and practitioners may wish to consider what reasonable adjustments may need to be made to policies and interventions to ensure that they are effective for adults with disabilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e502-e509
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of public health (Oxford, England)
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • smoking
  • adult
  • socioeconomic factors
  • gender
  • disability
  • wave-physical agent


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