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Preventing smoking -- evidence from urban emergency department patients

November 04, 2019

A new study from the Prevention Research Center of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation offers a more in-depth understanding of smoking among patients in an urban emergency department.

Studying patients in urban emergency departments matters because these patients smoke cigarettes and use other substances at higher rates than the general population.

The data are from a survey with 1037 patients in California. Key results include the following:
  • Smoking prevalence was higher among men than women (35.5% vs. 18.9%). These smoking rates are more than double those seen among adult men and women in California.
  • Smoking rates were higher among users of other substances such as alcohol, marijuana, amphetamines, and cocaine and among those who misused prescription opioids;
  • There were no racial/ethnic differences in the likelihood of current smoking among men, but Hispanic/Latino and African American men were less likely to be heavier smokers than white men;
  • Among women, Hispanics/Latinas were less likely to be current smokers, and Hispanics/Latinas and African Americans were less likely to be light smokers compared to white women;
  • Being unemployed was associated with current and moderate/heavier smoking among women;
  • Food insufficiency was related to current and light smoking among men;
  • Among women, past-year intimate partner violence was related to current smoking, light and moderate/heavier smoking;
  • Having a spouse/partner who smoked was related to smoking behavior among the sample's men and women.
These findings indicate that, among urban emergency department patients, those who are faced with socioeconomic stressors, such as unemployment and food insufficiency, may be particularly vulnerable to smoking-related health disparities.

Says lead author Dr. Carol Cunradi: "Clinicians should consider factors such as polysubstance use and socioeconomic stressors as they screen underserved patients who smoke and formulate cessation treatment plans.
-end-
Source: Cunradi, Carol B., Juliet Lee, Anna Pagano, Raul Caetano, and Harrison J. Alter. "Gender Differences in Smoking Among an Urban Emergency Department Sample." Tobacco Use Insights 12 (2019): 1179173X19879136.

PIRE is an independent, nonprofit organization merging scientific knowledge and proven practice to create solutions that improve the health, safety and well-being of individuals, communities, and nations around the world. http://www.pire.org

The Prevention Research Center (PRC) of PIRE is one of 16 centers sponsored by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), of the National Institutes of Health, and is the only one that specializes in prevention. PRC's focus is on conducting research to better understand the social and physical environments that influence individual behavior that lead to alcohol and drug misuse. http://www.prev.org

The Resource Link for Community Action provides information and practical guidance to state and community agencies and organizations, policy makers, and members of the public who are interested in combating alcohol and other drug abuse and misuse. https://resources.prev.org/

If you would like more information about this topic, please call Sue Thomas at 831.429.4084 or email her at thomas@pire.org

Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation

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