Raise in pay can lead to less smoking, says study

Washington: A new study has revealed that a raise in pay wages, can lead to about a five percent drop in smoking rates, and also improve their overall chances of quitting smoking.

Author Paul Leigh of the University of California, Davis, said their findings were especially important as inflation-adjusted wages for low-income jobs had been dropping for decades and the percentage of workers in low- paying jobs had been growing nation-wide,

In the study, the team evaluated data on wages, smoking status and state of residence for full-time employees aged 21 to 65 years from the 1999 to 2009 Panel Study of Income Dynamics.

Leigh used a statistical model in their evaluation that is traditionally applied in economics called instrumental variables analysis. Changes in the ‘treatment,’ which in this case was wages, were measured for each year and then compared to smoking rates in the subsequent year.

The study revealed that the role of wage increased on reducing smoking among men and the less educated.

The researchers also found that smoking rates for women were not influenced by wages, and that smoking rates for men were not influenced by additional household income.

Leigh said that their findings added to the existing body of epidemiological literature showing that lower income predicts poor health habits, adding that they also showed that higher minimum wages could reduce the prevalence of smoking.

The study is published in the Journal Annals of Epidemiology. (ANI)