Effects of smoking cessation on pain in older adults.

TitleEffects of smoking cessation on pain in older adults.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsShi, Y, W Hooten, M, Warner, DO
JournalNicotine Tob Res
Date Published2011 Oct
ISSN Number1469-994X
KeywordsAged, Body Mass Index, depression, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Humans, Interviews as Topic, Logistic Models, Longitudinal Studies, Male, Middle Aged, Odds Ratio, pain, Pain Perception, Smoking, Smoking cessation, Smoking Prevention

INTRODUCTION: Smokers are at increased risk of developing chronic pain and suffering higher pain intensity. However, nicotine has analgesic properties, and smokers may view smoking as a means to cope with pain. Smoking cessation is clearly beneficial to the long-term health of smokers. However, it is not known how abstinence from smoking affects pain. The aim of this study was to determine the association between smoking cessation and changes in pain symptoms by secondary analysis of a large longitudinal dataset of older adults.

METHODS: Secondary analyses were performed of longitudinal biennial survey data (1992 through 2006) from the nationally representative Health and Retirement Study of United States adults older than 50 years. Multivariate logistic regressions were utilized to determine the relationship between the changes in smoking status and changes in pain symptoms, controlling for demographics, depression, self-rated health, history of arthritis, and body mass index.

RESULTS: In multivariate analyses, among the 4,695 smokers who reported no pain or mild pain at enrollment, smoking status was not independently associated with exacerbation of pain (odds ratio [OR]: 0.95, 95% CI: 0.84, 1.08). Among the 1,118 smokers who reported moderate to severe pain at enrollment, smoking status was not independently associated with improvement of pain (OR: 0.87, 95% CI: 0.70, 1.08).

CONCLUSIONS: Smoking cessation was not independently associated with changes in pain symptoms in older adults. These results suggest that concerns regarding the effects of abstinence from smoking on pain should not pose a barrier to offering tobacco use interventions to smokers with chronic pain.


Shi, Yu Hooten, W Michael Warner, David O U01AG009740/AG/NIA NIH HHS/United States Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't England Nicotine and tobacco research : official journal of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco Nicotine Tob Res. 2011 Oct;13(10):919-25. Epub 2011 May 12.

User Guide Notes


Endnote Keywords

Smoking/chronic Disease/smoking Cessation/Socioeconomic Differences

Endnote ID


Alternate JournalNicotine Tob Res
Citation Key7649
PubMed ID21571690
PubMed Central IDPMC3179669
Grant ListU01AG009740 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States