Smoking behaviors among people with disabilities in Korea

Jeong-Eun Lee, M.S.W., Ph.D., Jong-Hyock Park, M.D., M.P.H., Hye-Ri Kim, M.D., Hyung-Ik Shin, M.D., Ph.D.

Disability and Health Journal, Vol. 7, Issue 2, p236–241
Published online: November 11, 2013


Most reports concerning smoking behaviors in people with disabilities have been from Western societies; knowledge of smoking behaviors in Asian countries, including Korea, is insufficient.


This study investigates the smoking behaviors of people with a disability compared to the general population in Korea.


We compared the smoking behaviors of people with a disability with the general population by using datasets from the 2011 National Survey of Disabled People and an age- and sex-matched random sample from the 5th Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Random samples of people 18 years of age and older with disabilities (n = 5636) and of the general population were used (n = 5636). The main outcome measures include smoking behaviors by type, severity, and age at disability onset.


People with a mental or physical impairment have higher current smoking rates (38.1% and 26.3%, respectively) than the general population (23.3%). In particular, current smokers with psychiatric impairment were more likely to smoke more than 20 cigarettes a day (61.2%). People with a disability, regardless of severity or age at onset, were less likely than the general population to have attempted to quit smoking.


Smoking behaviors differed according to the type of disability. These results suggest that interventions for smoking prevention and cessation need to be tailored according to disability characteristics.