Food insecurity is a very common problem in developing countries particularly among the poorer households. Very few studies have tested the association between adult smoking and food insecurity.
We analysed the data from a nationally representative sample of 10,826 households in which women and men (in a sub sample of 4121 households) aged 15-49 years were interviewed in Nepal Demographic and Health Survey 2011. Data from households in which both men and women were interviewed were analysed for association of household food insecurity access score (HFIAS), with tobacco use among men and women, socio-demographic and spatial factors. Univariate comparisons followed by zero-inflated negative binomial regression analyses were done to determine the association between HFIAS and individual, household and spatial factors.
Mean HFIAS score was 3.5 (SD, 4.6) whereas the median was 0 (IQR 0-6). Prevalence of tobacco use among men and women was 50.2% (95% CIs 47.9, 52.6), and 17.3% (95% CIs 15.7, 18.9). HFIAS scores were significantly higher among households where men used tobacco (4.96), and men either smoked or use SLT (3.82) as compared to those without tobacco users (2.79). HFIAS scores were not significantly different by tobacco use status of women. HFIAS score was highest in the poorest households and vice versa. After adjusting for covariates association between HFIAS score and male tobacco use remained significant but effect size decreased when covariates were included into regression models (adjusted OR 1.11). HFIAS score was also associated wealth index (adjusted OR 0.86-0.62) and ecological region (adjusted OR 1.33) and development regions (adjusted OR 1.10-1.21).
Tobacco users in poor(er) households should be encouraged to ‘quit’ their habit. Less affluent sectors of the population also need to be educated about the non-health benefits of quitting, such as improved economic status and reduced food insecurity.