PURPOSE: Smoking and increased tobacco use has been linked to low socio-economic status. The purpose of this study was to assess correlation between tobacco usage and level of education and average family income.
METHODS: This study was executed through elementary schools in Corpus Christi to ensure all socio-economic classes would be represented. Presentations were made at local elementary schools discussing the hazards involved with tobacco use. During the presentation, students completed surveys describing tobacco usage in their home. The questionnaire provided information regarding their parents as well as and the number of smokers in each family. Demographics describing the median income and education for each elementary school district zone were provided by the City of Corpus Christi. Majority schools showed a demographic makeup that was primarily Hispanic. 6051 students were surveyed (1st grade - 2444; 2nd grade - 1619; and 3rd grade -1988). Data was analyzed using Microsoft Excel soft ware.
RESULTS: No correlation between either the level of education or the annual income and the percentage of smokers within a household was established. Furthermore, correlations were not found within the class strata (first, second, and third grade). The highest r-value obtained from the data was amongst the income of families with children in second grade versus the percentage of smokers within those households; the r2-value was .36.
CONCLUSIONS: The annual income and the level of education are poor predictors for the prevalence of smoking in the predominantly Hispanic households in Corpus Christi, Texas. Similar conclusions were obtained in a study performed in the United Kingdom. This lack of correlation contrary to the general belief suggests further investigation is needed to determine effective predictors of smoking prevalence.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Although income and education levels are poor predictors, it is important to find accurate predictors to effect a meaningful change
DISCLOSURE: The following authors have nothing to disclose: Salim Surani, Sivakumar Sudhakaran, Michael Apolinario, Sara Surani, Kalpalatha Guntupalli
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