Smokers May Be Less Likely to Vote

Smokers May Be Less Likely to Vote

Smokers May Be Less Likely to Vote

'Marginalization' could extend to political mistrust, study suggests

SOURCE: University of Colorado, news release, May 19, 2015

WEDNESDAY, May 27, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Whether it's Jeb Bush or Hillary Clinton may not matter to folks who light up: A new study finds smokers are less likely to vote than nonsmokers.

University of Colorado researchers conducted telephone interviews with more than 11,600 people. Of those, 17 percent were smokers.

Daily smokers were 60 percent less likely to vote than nonsmokers, according to the study published recently in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

"On one hand, the result is intuitive. We know from previous research that smokers are an increasingly marginalized population, involved in fewer organizations and activities and with less interpersonal trust than nonsmokers," study author Karen Albright, an assistant professor in School of Public Health, said in a university news release.

"But what our research suggests is that this marginalization may also extend beyond the interpersonal level to attitudes toward political systems and institutions," she added.

Perhaps smokers view political institutions as oppressors, given widespread enactment of tobacco taxes and clean indoor air laws, the researchers noted.

A previous Swedish study found a link between smoking and political mistrust.

Albright and her colleagues plan further research into smokers' feelings about political systems.

"We're getting a clearer picture of the 'what' and soon I hope it will be time to talk to individual smokers in these populations to start exploring the 'why,' " she said.

It's important to note that the study only found an association between voting apathy and smoking, not a direct cause-and-effect relationship.

More information

The American Heart Association outlines the risks of smoking.
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