Send to

Choose Destination
Pain Med. 2017 Jun 1;18(6):1089-1097. doi: 10.1093/pm/pnw223.

Cigarette Smoking Status and Receipt of an Opioid Prescription Among Veterans of Recent Wars.

Author information

Pain Research, Informatics, Multimorbidities, and Education (PRIME) Center, VA Connecticut Healthcare System, West Haven, Connecticut.
Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut.
University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, Connecticut.
VA Central Western Massachusetts Healthcare System, Leeds, Massachusetts.
University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA.



 Cigarette smokers seeking treatment for chronic pain have higher rates of opioid use than nonsmokers. This study aims to examine whether veterans of Operations Enduring Freedom/Iraqi Freedom/New Dawn (OEF/OIF/OND) who smoke are more likely to receive an opioid prescription than nonsmokers, adjusting for current pain intensity.


 Cross-sectional analysis of a cohort study of OEF/OIF/OND veterans who had at least one visit to a Veterans Health Administration primary care clinic between 2001 and 2012.


 Smoking status was defined as current, former, and never. Current pain intensity (+/- 30 days of smoking status), based on the 0-10 numeric rating scale, was categorized as no pain/mild (0-3) and moderate/severe (4-10). Opioid receipt was defined as at least one prescription filled +/- 30 days of smoking status.


 We identified 406,954 OEF/OIF/OND veterans: The mean age was 30 years, 12.5% were women (n = 50,988), 66.3% reported no pain or mild pain intensity, 33.7% reported moderate or severe pain intensity, 37.2% were current smokers, and 16% were former smokers. Overall, 33,960 (8.3%) veterans received one or more opioid prescription. Current smoking (odds ratio [OR] = 1.56, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.52-1.61) and former smoking (OR = 1.27, 95% CI = 1.22-1.32) were associated with a higher likelihood of receipt of an opioid prescription compared with never smoking, after controlling for other covariates.


 We found an association between smoking status and receipt of an opioid prescription. The effect was stronger for current smokers than former smokers, highlighting the need to determine whether smoking cessation is associated with a reduction in opioid use among veterans.


Opioids; Pain; Smoking; Tobacco; Veterans

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center