Background: Tobacco use is common in India and a majority of users are in rural areas. We examine tobacco use and smoking quit rates along gender and socioeconomic dimensions in rural Andhra Pradesh.
Design and methods: Data come from a cross-sectional survey. Markers of socioeconomic status (SES) were education, occupation, and income. Regression analyses were undertaken to examine determinants of current smoking, smoking quit rates, tobacco use by type (cigarettes, bidis, and chewing), and quantity consumed (number per day, packyears).
Results: The weighted prevalence of current smoking and tobacco chewing was higher in men (50.3%, 95% confidence interval, CI, 48.1-52.6 and 5.0%, 95% CI 4.1-5.9, respectively) compared with women (4.8%, 95% CI 3.9-5.7 and 1.0%, 95% CI 0.6-1.4, respectively) and higher among older age groups. The quit rate was higher in women (45.5%, 95% CI 38.7-52.2) compared to men (18.8%, 95% CI 16.7-20.9). Illiterate individuals were more likely to be current smokers of any type compared to those with secondary/higher education (odds ratio, OR, 3.25, 95% CI 2.54-4.16), although cigarette smoking was higher in men of high SES. Smoking quit rates were positively associated with SES (OR 2.56, 95% CI 1.76-3.71) for secondary/higher education vs. illiterates. Level of consumption increased with SES and those with secondary/higher education smoked an additional 1.93 (95% CI 1.08-2.77) cigarettes or bidis per day and had an additional 1.87 (95% CI 0.57-3.17) pack-years vs. illiterates.
Conclusions: The social gradients in cigarette smoking and level of consumption contrasted those for indigenous forms of tobacco (bidi smoking and chewing). International prevention and cessation initiatives designed at modifying Westernstyle cigarette usage will need to be tailored to the social context of rural Andhra Pradesh to effectively influence the use of cigarettes and equally harmful indigenous forms of tobacco.