Mobility Impaired Linked to Higher Smoking Rates: Study

First Posted: Jul 12, 2014 08:47 AM EDT

Researchers say people with mobility impairment under the age of 65 have higher rate of smoking than those without the problem.

Lead researchers Belinda Borelli, Ph.D, of The Centers for Behavioural and Preventive at the Miriam Hospital and her colleagues, studied the prevalence of cigarette smoking and attempts to  quit among people with mobility impairment as they have higher health risk than the general population.

The analysis of 13,308 adults between the ages of 21 and 85 with mobility impairment .

In the age group of 21 and 44 years old 39.2 percent were smokers when compared to 21.5 percent of adults without the problem, researchers wrote in a press release.

Among people aged 45 to 65, 31.2 percent were smokers as opposed to 20.7 percent without mobility impairment. The analysis also included women between the ages of 21 to 44. Researchers found that 45 .9 percent women in the age group of 21-44 with mobility impairment had the highest smoking rates.

The analysis found that men with impaired mobility smoked more than women with the same disability.

Borelli focused on smokers in mobility impairment because this population is more at risk of health issues than others. Continued smoking can worsen the physical disability and contribute to other respiratory and circulatory difficulties, muscle weakness, delay wound healing and worsen arthritis and osteoporosis.

Borelli said, "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."

The research was published in the 'American Journal of Public Health.'

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