Sunday, April 04, 2010

Maori smoke because they are poor - not because they are Maori

That's the latest finding in the Christchurch Health and Devlopment Study; Specifically;

OBJECTIVE: The present study examined the role of socioeconomic status and cultural identity in the association between ethnicity and nicotine dependence, in a birth cohort of >1000 methods young people studied to age 30. METHODS: Data were gathered on ethnicity, cultural identification, nicotine dependence, and socioeconomic factors, as part of a longitudinal study of a New Zealand birth cohort (the Christchurch Health and Development Study). RESULTS: Those reporting Māori identity had rates of nicotine dependence that were significantly higher (p < 0.05) than rates for non-Māori. Control for socioeconomic factors reduced the associations between ethnic identity and nicotine dependence to statistical non-significance. In addition, there was no evidence of a statistically significant association between Māori cultural identity and nicotine dependence, nor was there evidence of gender differences in the association between ethnic identity and nicotine dependence, after controlling for socioeconomic factors. CONCLUSIONS: The higher rates of nicotine dependence observed among Māori appear to be attributable to differences in socioeconomic status. Efforts to improve the socioeconomic standing of Māori should therefore help to reduce rates of nicotine dependence in this population.


Get your teeth into that.

I don't believe poverty makes people smoke (accept that it is an affordable 'pleasure').

Hypothetical question;

Why don't Pacific women, who have the same socio-economic status as Maori women, have a higher rate of nicotine dependence? Their smoking rate is the same as European women. And Asian women, the poorest, smoke the least.

In fact, the more I ponder this, the more inclined I am to think it is being Maori, something about an attitude (how many of us smoked when we were young as either an act of rebellion or to fit in with mates) that makes their tobacco use higher. Like welfare, they start young and it is difficult to kick the habit.

But that's just opinion. The science makes a nonsense of what I think.

4 comments:

bez said...

If socio economic status is the better determinant for smoking, then perhaps one should conclude that the lower socio economic groups are less informed about the risks of smoking, are more inclined to risk taking behaviours, or have a lack of other ways to engage in stimulating activity, or are easier subjected to peer pressure, are involved in a social environment where smoking is seen as conforming behaviour etc etc. One is almost surprised that the conclusion wasn't that smoking keeps one dumb and poor.
I propose another research project that will show that wine drinking is correlated with higher socio economic status, as is driving audi's and BMW's. That research will no doubt show that even Maoris have a higher chance of driving such cars if their socio economic status increases.
At least one positive from this research is of course that we can now stop sponsoring anti smoking programmes particularly aimed at Maori. Wasn't there a parliamentary committee working on that question recently?

Psycho Milt said...

The higher rates of nicotine dependence observed among Māori appear to be attributable to differences in socioeconomic status. Efforts to improve the socioeconomic standing of Māori should therefore help to reduce rates of nicotine dependence in this population.

Yet another correlation = causation error. Sounds plausible until you consider the concept that people who are dumb enough to smoke are quite possibly also dumb enough not to be on the path to financial success.

MacDoctor said...

The science makes a nonsense of what I think

No really, Lindsay. I have read the paper. I suspect that the only reason why control for socio economic factors resulted in non-significance is because their numbers were too small. They used a cohort of just over 1000 but only about 111 were identifiably Maori.

Besides, as PM succinctly says, it is far more likely that some factor is making Maori both poor and addicted to nicotine. Unlike PM, however, I think it more likely that the same victimhood and lack of motivation that sees more Maori on the dole is the root cause of their inability to stop smoking.

FAIRFACTS MEDIA said...

And with the price of fags the way they are, smoking also makes you poor.