Are political views related to smoking and support for tobacco control policies? A survey across 28 European countries
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Department of Primary Care and Public Health, School of Public Health, Imperial College, London, UK
Center for Health Services Research, School of Medicine, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece
Laboratory of Toxicology, Medical School, University of Crete, Rethimno, Greece
Department of Healthcare, Faculty of Public Health, University of Vlora, Vlora, Albania
Institute of Public Health, American College of Greece, Athens, Greece
Publish date: 2017-12-08
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2017;15(December):45
General political views are rarely considered when discussing public support for tobacco control policies and tobacco use. The aim of this study was to explore potential associations between political views, smoking and support for tobacco control policies.

We analysed responses from 22,313 individuals aged ≥15 years from 28 European Union (EU) member states, who self-reported their political views (far-left [1–2 on a scale 1–10]; centre-left (3-4); centre (5-6); centre-right (7-8); and far-right (9-10) in wave 82.4 of the Eurobarometer survey in 2014. We ran multi-level logistic regression models to explore associations between political views and smoking, as well as support for tobacco control policies, adjusting for socio-demographic factors.

Compared to those placing themselves at the political centre, people with far-left political views were more likely to be current smokers (Odds Ratio [OR] = 1.13; 95% Confidence Interval [CI]: 1.01–1.26), while those in the centre-right were the least likely to smoke (OR = 0.84; 95% CI: 0.76–0.93). Similar associations were found for having ever been a smoker. Respondents on the left side of the political spectrum were more likely to support tobacco control policies and those on the centre-right were less likely to support them, as compared to those at the political centre, after controlling for smoking status.

General political views may be associated not only with support for tobacco control policies, but even with smoking behaviours, which should be taken into account when discussing these issues at a population level. Further research is needed to explore the implications of these findings.

Filippos T. Filippidis   
Department of Primary Care and Public Health, School of Public Health, Imperial College, 310 Reynolds Building, St. Dunstan’s Road, W6 8RP, London, UK
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