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Tobacco use among adults with disabilities in Massachusetts


Objectives: To examine the characteristics of smoking among adults with disabilities in Massachusetts.

Design: Data were obtained from the 1996–1999 Massachusetts Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a random digit dial telephone survey. Respondents reporting use of special equipment or a limitation caused by impairment or health problem were classified as having a disability. Adults with disabilities were further classified by level, based on need for assistance, and type of disability. Logistic regression models were used to assess the association between disability status and smoking.

Setting and participants: Random sample of non-institutionalised Massachusetts adults, 18 and older, with disabilities (n = 2985) and without disabilities (n = 14 395).

Main outcome measures: Smoking status, intensity, and factors related to quitting.

Results: Compared to those without disabilities, adults with disabilities were more likely to have ever smoked (odds ratio (OR) 1.42, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.25 to 1.61) and to be current smokers (OR 1.52, 95% CI 1.32 to 1.76). Smoking rates varied by type of disability. Among current smokers, adults with disabilities smoked more cigarettes per day (OR 1.65, 95% CI 1.31 to 2.16), sooner after waking (OR 1.50, 95% CI 1.13 to 1.99), and were more likely to be advised by a doctor to quit (OR 2.07, 95% CI 1.60 to 2.69). Adults with disabilities who needed assistance were more likely to be planning to quit (OR 1.50, 95% CI 0.99 to 2.26).

Conclusions: There are disparities in smoking rates between adults with and without disabilities. Smoking cessation programmes targeted to the disabled community are needed.

  • disabilities
  • chronic conditions

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