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Prev Med. 2006 Dec;43(6):477-81. Epub 2006 Sep 1.

Tobacco smoking in relation to pain in a national general population survey.

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University of Greifswald, Institute of Epidemiology and Social Medicine, Walther-Rathenau-Str. 48, D-17487 Greifswald, Germany.



We examined whether smoking status including heavy smoking (20 or more cigarettes per day) is related to the number of pain locations and intensity of pain.


A probability sample of the German national population aged 18 to 79 including 7124 participants (response proportion: 61.4%) was used. All individuals underwent a health examination between 1997 and 1999. Ordinal logistic regression analyses were performed with number of pain locations and pain intensity as dependent variables which had been assessed by questionnaire.


Former and current heavy smokers had higher odds for greater numbers of pain locations and for moderate and intense pain than never smokers after adjustment for analgesic medicament use and behavior-related risk factors. Female former heavy smokers had an adjusted odds ratio (OR) of 1.6 (95% confidence interval, CI, 1.2-2.2) and male former heavy smokers had an adjusted OR of 1.4 (CI 1.1-1.8) for higher numbers of pain locations compared to never smoking women and men respectively (female current smokers: OR 1.4, CI 1.0-1.9; male current smokers: OR 1.3, CI 1.1-1.7).


The findings suggest that former and current heavy smokers are more likely to report more pain locations and more intense pain than never smokers.

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