Smokers are much more likely than non-cigarette users to drink heavily, have a poor diet and develop mental health problems, new research shows. They are also at far greater risk of needing treatment for heart problems, breathing trouble and arthritis than those who do not smoke.
A study has found that smokers have unhealthier lifestyles than either non-smokers or those who have given up. For example, half of all smokers drink more than official limits recommend, but under 40% of those who have never smoked do. That trend is especially pronounced in men. And while 35% of smokers binge drink, only 23% of non-smokers and 31% of ex-smokers do.
Similarly, while 39% of non-smokers eat the five portions of fruit and vegetables a day everyone is advised, only 28% of cigarette users do. The differences are particularly stark in mental health. While 8% of both non-smokers and ex-smokers have been treated for some form of mental illness, 14% of smokers have been.
Female smokers were almost twice as likely (18%) as male ones (10%) to have had treatment, one of several areas in which the health outcomes of women who lit up were worse than for men who did. They were also more likely to suffer from a respiratory condition or arthritis.
The findings are based on analysis of the health profile of 13,000 smokers, ex-smokers and those who have never smoked by researchers from the Cardiff Institute of Society and Health at Cardiff University and Ash Wales.
They will be presented at a tobacco control conference today by the lead researcher, Dr Sarah Whitehead.
A recent study of the health of almost 5,000 Britons found that people who display four unhealthy behaviours – they smoke, drink, have a poor diet and do too little exercise – take on average 12 years off their life by doing so.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
The Guardian in the UK:
Posted by BA Haller at 2:28 PM