Disparities in smoking behaviors among those with and without disabilities from 2001 to 2005.

OBJECTIVES: Past research has suggested smoking disparities among individuals with disabling conditions. We contrasted smoking behaviors of those with and without disabilities from 2001 to 2005.

DESIGN: Descriptive correlational study.

SAMPLE: Telephone interviews were conducted in all states with noninstitutionalized adults. Half were female; most were Anglo (70.5%) and had at least a high school education (90%). Their average age was 45 years. Approximately 19% of the sample reported being disabled.

MEASUREMENT: We analyzed 4 years of data from the population-based Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

RESULTS: While individuals with disabilities were more likely to report ever having smoked than nondisabled respondents, current smoking behaviors were more similar in the 2 groups, and the difference was not statistically significant when demographic factors were included in the model. Smoking behavior decreased somewhat for nondisabled persons between 2001 and 2005, but remained fairly constant for those with disabilities. However, those with disabilities were more likely than those without disabilities to have attempted to quit smoking in all years.

CONCLUSIONS: Findings underscore the importance of smoking cessation programs tailored to people with disabilities. The role of the public health nurse in addressing smoking cessation at the individual, system, and community level is discussed.