Moon, Graham and Barnett, Ross
Spatial scale and the geography of tobacco smoking in New Zealand: a multilevel perspective
New Zealand Geographer, 59, (2), . (doi:10.1111/j.1745-7939.2003.tb01662.x).
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Smoking in New Zealand is more common in deprived areas and in areas with a
significant Maori population. Despite its status as a major health problem there has
been little work investigating this apparent geography of smoking. Data from the
1996 Census is used to construct a multilevel ‘proportions-as-responses’ model of
smoking prevalence. This enables an exploration of the geography of smoking at
different spatial scales. Levels within the model distinguish contextual variation
between local authorities, census area units and meshblocks. Particular account is
taken of the influence of deprivation and ethnicity on smoking. Results confirm the
importance of ethnicity and deprivation and indicate that cross-level interaction
between meshblock and census area units measures is significant. They also challenge
crude stereotypes about the apparent geography of smoking and suggest that, while
levels of smoking may be high in parts of North Island, they are less high than might
be expected given the socio-demographic composition of the areas concerned.
Conversely, smoking is more prevalent than expected in parts of South Island. The
paper notes the health policy implications of these emergent geographies.
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