Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Socioeconomic status and tobacco expenditure among Australian households: results from the 1998–99 Household Expenditure Survey
  1. M Siahpush
  1. VicHealth Centre for Tobacco Control, The Cancer Council Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr M Siahpush
 VicHealth Centre for Tobacco Control, Cancer Control Research Institute, The Cancer Council Victoria, 1 Rathdowne Street, Carlton Vic 3053, Australia;


Objective: To investigate the relation between socioeconomic status (SES) and tobacco expenditure among Australian households.

Design and setting: Cross sectional study (The Household Expenditure Survey 1998–99) by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, based on a multi-stage national sample of 9682 households.

Participants: From selected households, all members aged 15 and over were interviewed.

Main results: Lower SES was associated with higher odds of reporting tobacco expenditure. Among smoking households, those from lower SES spent more of their funds on tobacco. For example, households headed by a person with no educational qualification spent 34% more on tobacco than those headed by a person with a university degree. Blue collar households spent 23% more than professional households. Percentage of total household expenditure on tobacco in the first income quintile was 62% more than that of households in the fifth quintile.

Conclusion: Antismoking interventions and policies that are specifically aimed at lower SES groups can potentially improve social equality. They can also ameliorate social inequalities in health, given that much of the SES differentials in morbidity and mortality are attributed to the pronounced SES gradient in smoking.

  • smoking
  • socioeconomic status
  • social inequality
  • SES, socioeconomic status
  • ABS, Australian Bureau of Statistics

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.