Introduction Employment relations play an important role in explaining social inequalities in health.
Objective To investigated whether labour market status of men and women is associated with current smoking status, after adjusting for education, income and health and discuss hypotheses to explain the associations.
Methods Study included participants from National Health Survey of a nationally representative sample of Brazilians who were aged 15–64 years, economically active and residing in the eight metropolitan regions. Current smoking was defined as having a smoked at least 100 cigarettes in their life and who were currently smoking. Labour market status Associations were estimated by prevalence ratio and its 95% CI obtained by Poisson regression.
Results Among men, after all adjustments, workers without social protection and unemployed had higher prevalence of smoking (PR 1.31; 95% CI 1.24 to 1.38 and PR 1.31; 95% CI 1.18 to 1.44, respectively). Among women, corresponding figures were PR 1.22 (95% CI 1.12 to 1.31) and PR 1.16 (95% CI 1.03 to 1.32). The highest prevalence of smoking was found among male workers without social protection.
Conclusion Our results confirm that labour market status is an independent dimension of social inequalities related to smoke exposure. Despite being more pronounced among men, the social gradient was present in both genders. Future research should examine factors explaining this differences.
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