Miriam Hospital study examines smoking prevalence

July 11, 2014, Lifespan

Researchers from The Miriam Hospital have found that people with mobility impairments under age 65 have significantly higher rates of smoking than those without mobility impairments. Additionally, smokers with mobility impairments were less likely to attempt quitting than those without mobility impairments, and evidence-based, quit-smoking treatments may not be sufficient for this population. The study and its findings are published online in advance of print in the American Journal of Public Health.

Lead researcher Belinda Borrelli, Ph.D., of The Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine at The Miriam Hospital, and her colleagues sought to report cigarette and quit attempts among individuals with mobility impairments as they have greater health risks than the general population.

Borrelli conducted an analysis of 13,308 adults aged 21-85 years old with mobility impairments such as using special ambulatory equipment and having difficulty walking one-quarter mile without equipment. Results showed that among 21 to 44 year olds with mobility impairments, 39.2 percent were smokers, compared with only 21.5 percent of adults without mobility impairments. Among 45 to 64 year olds with mobility impairments, 31.2 percent were smokers versus 20.7 percent without mobility impairments.

The analysis also found that women ages 21 to 44 years old with mobility impairments had the highest smoking prevalence at 45.9 percent, exceeding same-aged women without mobility impairments. Men with mobility impairments had greater smoking prevalence than women with mobility impairments. Smokers with mobility impairments were also less likely to attempt quitting than smokers without mobility impairments.

"People with physical disabilities constitute 16.2 percent of the population and the majority of the population will experience physical disability at some point during their lifetime," Borrelli says. "However, the prevalence of smoking among people with disabilities was unknown prior to our paper. Our particular interest was in pinpointing smoking prevalence among those who use a device to help them get around. Literature indicates that those who use mobility aids have higher rates of depression, and in the general population, this is associated with greater smoking rates and lower likelihood of quitting smoking."

Borrelli focused on smokers with mobility impairment because in addition to being at risk for the same smoking-related health problems as the general population, this population is at risk for worsening their existing disability and underlying medical condition. Continued smoking exacerbates physical disabilities and causes or contributes to many secondary conditions including respiratory and circulatory difficulties, muscle weakness, delayed wound healing, worsening arthritis and osteoporosis. Smokers with a relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) are three times more likely to develop a secondary-progressive disease course.

Borrelli concludes, "Our data points to the need for future research investigating why smoking prevalence is so high in this population, as well as the best methods of smoking cessation treatment for this population.

"It is not clear that evidenced-based treatments that are effective for the general population will be sufficient to help people with mobility impairments quit smoking," she adds. "We speculate that with mobility impairments may need more intensive treatment given their greater risk factors for treatment failure such as high depression rates and stress levels, less physical activity and multiple medical comorbidities, coupled with high unemployment and low income. In the meantime, practicioners should recommend a combination of treatment modalities that include both psychosocial support that can be home based and pharmacological treatment."

Explore further: Risk of weight gain deters some smokers from seeking treatment to quit

Related Stories

Risk of weight gain deters some smokers from seeking treatment to quit

May 1, 2014
Smokers may avoid treatment to quit smoking if they previously gained weight while trying to quit, according to researchers at Penn State College of Medicine.

Smokers at increased risk for non-life threatening health conditions and reduced quality of life in old age

September 5, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—Smokers and former smokers who survive into old age are at a heightened risk for non-life threatening ailments that can reduce quality of life and expand the need for health services, according to a cohort ...

Smoking's toll on mentally ill analyzed

April 17, 2014
Those in the United States with a mental illness diagnosis are much more likely to smoke cigarettes and smoke more heavily, and are less likely to quit smoking than those without mental illness, regardless of their specific ...

Study examines prevalence of smoking among health care professionals

January 7, 2014
A survey of health care professionals finds that in 2010-2011, current smoking among this group, except for licensed practical nurses, was lower than the general population, and that the majority had never smoked, according ...

Combining treatments boosts some smokers' ability to quit

June 17, 2014
Combining two smoking cessation therapies is more effective than using just one for male and highly nicotine-dependent smokers who weren't initially helped by the nicotine patch, according to researchers at Duke Medicine.

E-cigarettes in Europe used mostly by the young, current smokers, would-be quitters

June 16, 2014
Most Europeans who have tried electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are young, current smokers, or those who recently tried quitting regular cigarettes, according to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). ...

Recommended for you

Placental accumulation of flame retardant chemical alters serotonin production in rats

January 22, 2018
A North Carolina State University-led research team has shown a connection between exposure to a widely used flame retardant chemical mixture and disruption of normal placental function in rats, leading to altered production ...

Marijuana use does not lower chances of getting pregnant

January 22, 2018
Marijuana use—by either men or women—does not appear to lower a couple's chances of getting pregnant, according to a new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers.

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.