Smoking is a major contributor to health inequalities in most high-income countries. Smoking is more common in disadvantaged groups globally, including those with low occupational, educational, or income level, the unemployed and lone parents. There are other groups in the population who may be especially susceptible, such as the homeless, those with mental health problems, and prisoners. In certain countries, ethnic minorities may experience high rates of tobacco use.

It is important that special efforts are made to ensure that tobacco control interventions reach vulnerable populations with high tobacco use.