People with mobility impairment have high smoking rate: Study

Washington: A new study has revealed that people with mobility impairments under age 65 are more prone to smoking.

The research by Miriam Hospital found that 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 analysis also established 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.

The research 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 was at risk for worsening their existing disability and underlying medical condition.

Continued smoking exacerbates physical disabilities and contributes in 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) were three times more likely to develop a secondary-progressive disease course.

Belinda Borrelli, Ph.D., said that people with physical disabilities constituted 16.2 percent of the population and the majority of the population would experience physical disability at some point during their lifetime.

She further added that it was still unclear whether the evidenced-based treatments that are effective for the general population would be sufficient to help people with mobility impairments quit smoking, so it was speculated that they might need more intensive treatment.

The study is published online in the American Journal of Public Health.

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