China is a high-burden tobacco-use country, where nearly one-third (28.1%) of the population smokes, including 52.9% of men and 2.4% of women, which has been linked to the chronic and often fatal diseases of the respiratory tract. With rapid urbanization, about 288 million migrants move from rural to urban in 2018 , and they have become an indispensable force for China’s industrialization and modernization . However, a large part of them are highly susceptible to smoking [5–7]. A rich array of studies has explored the determinants of rural migrants’ smoking prevalence . Most previous researches have consistently concluded that life and work stress are main determinants for the smoking prevalence of rural migrants[9, 10], where the life and work stress include but not are limited to low-quality employment, poor living conditions, unequal public service ,maladaptation to urban life and so on [9, 10, 12–14]. The rural migrants with high stress are more prone to trigger and aggravate smoking to obtain temporarily release .Beyond that, there is also a consistent conclusion that the rural migrants’ smoking prevalence is associated with age, gender, education attainments, income, occupation and migration durations[6–7, 15].
However, the existing studies neglect a fact that the rural-urban migration is not a one way street, and most of rural migrants are temporary or circular [16–17]. Rural migrants can move to a new place but are not easy to enjoy the equal public welfare as local urban citizens with Hukou constraints [14, 18]. Thus, a large proportion of them have to choose sole migration or couple migration, which leave part of their family members stay at hometown [19–22]. The split household is usually accompanied with solitude or psychological stress , which may induce to serious smoking abuse among rural migrants. Nevertheless, previous studies pay little attention to the association between spit household and smoking behavior. Chen et al. (2004) found a negative correlation between living with relatives and the smoking prevalence , but their conclusion was drawn only through Pearson chi-square tests, without regression applied to conduct more robust results. Otherwise, Chen et al. (2004) use the smoking prevalence instead of the smoking amounts as proxy for smoking behavior, and it is insufficient to assess the effect of split household on smoking abuse of rural migrants.
The present study aims to fill those gaps by using a unique survey named RUMiC to extend the discussion of association between spilt household and smoking behavior among rural migrants in China. Three issues are addressed as follows:
(1) Does the split household induce to abuse smoking?
(2) Are there any differential effect among three split-household forms?
(3) Does the effect of split household on smoking behavior vary be gender?
This research contributes to the literature in three distinct ways. First, the present study emphasizes the direct effect of split-household on the rural migrants’ smoking behavior in China context, and it presents new evidence to understand the nexus between the smoking abuse and solitude due to household split. Second, a unique and comprehensive database named RUMiC is used to explore the direct effect of split household, and the amount of smoking instead of the smoking prevalence is incorporated to discuss the association between split household and smoking abuse. Third, this research applies the Tobit regression to verify the relationship between split household and rural migrants’ smoking abuse, the gender differential is further addressed to explore the heterogeneity effect.