Women who were sexually abused as children more likely to smoke

February 23, 2004

ROCHESTER, Minn. -- Women who were sexually abused as children are much more likely to be current smokers than women who weren't abused as children. That's a key finding of a preliminary study on possible connections between sexual abuse and smoking -- a topic that has been largely overlooked in medical research.

The study is published in the February issue of the journal Addictive Behaviors.

"We found childhood sexual abuse is a strong predictor of smoking for women," says Colmar De Von Figueroa-Moseley, Ph.D., lead investigator in the study and director of Mayo Clinic's Office of Diversity in Clinical Research. "In our study, it was a more reliable smoking predictor than income, age or ethnicity. Understanding this connection could lead to new approaches to help girls and women avoid or stop smoking."

Study results include: Women who reported many incidents of sexual abuse as adults also were more likely to be smokers, but at a far lower risk level than women who reported even one instance of childhood abuse.

How the study was done

Researchers analyzed written surveys from 296 women, who ranged in age from 18 to 74. The study was conducted at California State University at San Bernardino, and 90 percent of the participants were college students. The respondents were racially diverse: 49.7 percent white; 24.9 percent Latino; 9.3 percent black; 8.3 percent Asian and 7.8 percent other ethnic groups. Respondents answered questions about smoking, sexual abuse, income, education and ethnicity.

Nine percent of the women were current smokers, and 69.3 percent of respondents had smoked at least once. About 29 percent of respondents reported being sexually abused as a child; 52 percent said they were sexually victimized as adults.

The sexual abuse-smoking connection

"Childhood sexual abuse may be a hidden but powerful reason why girls start smoking," says Dr. Figueroa-Moseley. "Smoking may be a way to cope with the stress of abuse."

While overall smoking rates have declined significantly over recent decades, smoking rates for teen and adult women recently have increased.

The conclusions of this research are limited by the small number of participants. "But the findings do support a compelling argument that sexual abuse is a strong -- yet little understood -- predictor of smoking," says Dr. Figueroa-Moseley. More systematic study is needed before developing new treatment options.
-end-
Additional Resources:
Nicotine Dependence Center: http://www.mayoclinic.org/nicotine-rst/index.html
Psychiatry and Psychology: http://www.mayoclinic.org/psychiatry-rst/
MayoClinic.com: http://www.mayoclinic.com/invoke.cfm?id=DS00307

VIDEO ALERT: Video sound bites from the subject expert will be fed on:
Monday, Feb. 23, 2004 at 2 p.m.CST.

TECHNICAL INFORMATION -- Monday, Feb. 23, 2004

Eastern
Test: 03:00-03:05 p.m. EST
Program: 03:05-03:30

Central
Test: 02:00-02:05 p.m. CST
Program: 02:05-02:30

Satellite Coordinates -- Ku-Band
Satellite: Galaxy 11
Transponder: 12 (V)
Channel: 12
Downlink Frequency: 11942 MHz
Audio: 6.2 or 6.8 MHz
Longitude: 91° W

Satellite Coordinates - C-Band
Satellite: Galaxy 4R
Transponder: 22 (V)
Channel: 22
Downlink Frequency: 4140 MHz
Audio: 6.2 or 6.8 MHz
Longitude: 99° W

For News Release information, please contact: 507-284-5005 (Mayo Clinic Communications)
For satellite technical questions or difficulties, contact: 800-608-3663 (Strategic Television) or 507-284-9118 (Mayo Clinic Satellite Desk)

Mayo Clinic

Related Smoking Articles from Brightsurf:

Smoking rates falling in adults, but stroke survivors' smoking rates remain steady
While the rate of Americans who smoke tobacco has fallen steadily over the last two decades, the rate of stroke survivors who smoke has not changed significantly.

What is your risk from smoking? Your network knows!
A new study from researchers at Penn's Annenberg School for Communication found that most people, smokers and non-smokers alike, were nowhere near accurate in their answers to questions about smoking's health effects.

Want to quit smoking? Partner up
Kicking the habit works best in pairs. That's the main message of a study presented today at EuroPrevent 2019, a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

Smoking and mortality in Asia
In this analysis of data from 20 studies conducted in China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and India with more than 1 million participants, deaths associated with smoking continued to increase among men in Asia grouped by the years in which they were born.

Predictors of successfully quitting smoking among smokers registered at the quit smoking clinic at a public hospital in northeastern Malaysia
In the current issue of Family Medicine and Community Health, Nur Izzati Mohammad et al. consider how cigarette smoking is one of the risk factors leading to noncommunicable diseases such as cardiovascular and respiratory system diseases and cancer.

Restaurant and bar smoking bans do reduce smoking, especially among the highly educated
Smoking risk drops significantly in college graduates when they live near areas that have completely banned smoking in bars and restaurants, according to a new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

How the UK smoking ban increased wellbeing
Married women with children reported the largest increase in well-being following the smoking bans in the UK in 2006 and 2007 but there was no comparable increase for married men with children.

Smoking study personalizes treatment
A simple blood test is allowing Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) researchers to determine which patients should be prescribed varenicline (Chantix) to stop smoking and which patients could do just as well, and avoid side effects, by using a nicotine patch.

A biophysical smoking gun
While much about Alzheimer's disease remains a mystery, scientists do know that part of the disease's progression involves a normal protein called tau, aggregating to form ropelike inclusions within brain cells that eventually strangle the neurons.

A case where smoking helped
A mutation in the hemoglobin of a young woman in Germany was found to cause her mild anemia.

Read More: Smoking News and Smoking Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.