Contribution of Smoking Behavior to Educational Differential in Active Life Expectancy in Nepal

Tirth Bhatta, Case Western Reserve University

Previous studies have consistently established the role of education in producing inequality in active life expectancy, both in developing and developed countries. However, there is little research on possible mechanisms responsible for generating such inequality. This study examines smoking as one possible mechanism by measuring the proportion of educational differences in active life expectancy explained by smoking status. By utilizing cross-sectional health and mortality data from Nepal, I employ a new method developed by Lynch and Brown (forthcoming) to construct education- and smoking-specific active life expectancy. The findings of this study demonstrate the substantial contribution of smoking to educational differentials in active life expectancy. The findings show that education is able to produce inequality in active life expectancy regardless of the existing social, economic, cultural, or developmental context. The findings of relative importance of both education and smoking in reducing health inequality should draw policy makers' attention in developing countries.

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Presented in Session 169: Health Behaviors, Health, and Mortality