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BMC Health Serv Res. 2003 Feb 11;3(1):4. Epub 2003 Feb 11.

Cigarette smoking, health status, socio-economic status and access to health care in diabetes mellitus: a cross-sectional survey.

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Department of Public Health Sciences, King's College London, Capital House, 42 Weston St, London SE1 3QD, UK.



In diabetes mellitus, cigarette smoking is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular mortality and microvascular complications. We evaluated cigarette smoking in people with diabetes mellitus in a socio-economically deprived area.


We carried out a cross-sectional survey of people registered with diabetes mellitus at 29 general practices in inner London. Responses were analysed for 1,899 (64%) respondents out of 2,983 eligible.


There were 1,899 respondents of whom 968 (51%) had never smoked, 296 (16%) were current smokers and 582 (31%) were ex-smokers. Smoking was more frequent in white Europeans (men 22%, women 20%), than in African Caribbeans (men 15%, women 10%) or Africans (men 8%, women 2%). Smoking prevalence decreased with age. Smokers were more likely to be living in rented accommodation (odds ratio, OR 2.02, 95% confidence interval 1.48 to 2.74). After adjusting for confounding, current smokers had lower SF-36 scores than subjects who had never smoked (mean difference in physical functioning score -5.6, 95% confidence interval -10.0 to -1.2; general health -6.1, -9.7 to -2.5). Current smokers were less likely to have attended a hospital diabetic clinic in the last year (OR 0.59, 0.44 to 0.79), and their hypertension was less likely to be treated (OR 0.47, 0.30 to 0.74).


Compared with non-smokers, smokers had lower socio-economic status and worse health status, but were less likely to be referred to hospital or treated for their hypertension. People with diabetes who smoke can be regarded as a vulnerable group who need more intensive support and treatment.

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