A recent study has suggested improving education of the youth, as this can significantly reduce incidence of smoking in them.
The research team led by Christina Schnohr has shown that high-achieving schoolchildren, even from poor backgrounds, are less likely to smoke.
"Above average academic achievement was associated with lower risk of smoking," she said.
"Teachers and politicians may find this information useful, and allocate resources to give higher priority to a supportive environment in schools especially for children and adolescents in lower social groups.
"This might contribute to reducing smoking in this group," she added.
Smoking is a major cause of the inequality in mortality between rich and poor.
The research suggests that one intervention, improved education for children from poor families, should be both implementable and effective in reducing the gap.
The study confirmed that children from less well-off families are more likely to smoke, and are less likely to perform well at school. Moreover, poorer children who did perform well in class were also less likely to be smokers.
"This mediating role of academic achievement emphasizes the role of teachers in supporting students from deprived families," said Schnohr.
"If they can focus on students from lower socio-economic positions, it might help reduce the social inequality in smoking prevalence," she added.
The study is published in BioMed Central's open access International Journal for Equity in Health.