Social capital, political trust and daily smoking and smoking cessation: a population-based study in southern Sweden

M Lindström
Public Health 2009, 123 (7): 496-501

OBJECTIVES: To investigate the associations between vertical (institutional) political trust in the Riksdag and daily smoking and smoking cessation.

STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional study.

METHODS: In total, 27,757 individuals aged 18-80 years answered a postal questionnaire, which represents 59% of the random sample. A logistic regression model was used to investigate the associations between political trust in the Riksdag and daily smoking and smoking cessation. A multivariate analysis was performed to investigate the importance of possible confounders on the differences in daily smoking and smoking cessation according to political trust.

RESULTS: In total, 14.9% of the men and 18.1% of the women were daily smokers. Middle-aged respondents were significantly more likely to be daily smokers than the young. The proportion of ever smokers who had quit smoking increased with age. Respondents with low generalized trust in other people [odds ratio (OR) 1.6, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.5-1.8 among men; OR 1.7, 95% CI 1.5-1.8 among women] and not high political trust/no political trust at all (OR 1.6, 95% CI 1.4-1.8 among men; OR 1.8, 95% CI 1.6-2.0 among women) had significantly higher ORs of daily smoking. Men and women with not particularly high political trust/no political trust at all and no opinion of the Riksdag had significantly lower ORs of smoking cessation than people with very high/high political trust. These associations remained significant after multiple adjustments.

CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that political trust is independently associated with both daily smoking and smoking cessation.

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