A new study claims that people who smoke are 60 percent less likely to participate in elections than nonsmokers. It is one of the first studies that has attempted to establish a link between electoral participation and the health-risk behavior of an individual.
"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," first author Karen Albright said. The research also revealed that marginalization also affects the attitude of an individual toward the political system, the representative from the University of Colorado Cancer Center added.
The research conclusions were based on data retrieved from the Colorado Tobacco Attitudes and Behaviors Study (C-Tabs). During the study, 11,626 people were asked questions about demographics, behavior and social factors in a telephone interview.
They also were asked if they were smokers and whether they had voted during the most recent election. Of the 17 percent of respondents who declared themselves smokers, nearly 60 percent were less likely to have voted recently. Researchers said there could be multiple reasons, such as political mistrust over enactment of tobacco taxes. However, the researchers also believe that the social stigma associated with smoking could also be the reason behind decreased interest in voting, as the stigma creates a feeling of withdrawal or depression among smokers.
The complete study was published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research.