Underserved communities are at nearly double the risk of smoking dependency, according to new research publishing in CANCER
Smoking rates and smoking-related cancers have been declining steadily in the US for the past few years, however, certain demographics are still at an increased risk of nicotine addiction and cigarette use.
According to this study, these at risk and underserved communities could therefore gain significant benefits from tobacco prevention and cessation programmes, funded by local governments.
Smoking has been linked with mental health conditions and substance use disorders within these communities, therefore halting the increasing of smoking use may have a positive knock on effect for these other issues.
Doctor Sue C. Lin of the Health Resources and Services Administration within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services analysed results from a 2014 Health Centre Patient Survey in order to assess the prevalence of smoking among adults from underserved communities who received primary care at federally qualified health centres.
These centres serve individuals and families from underserved communities including people experiencing homelessness, agricultural workers, and residents of public housing.
The impact of smoking on the body and mind as a whole
While investigating the team were also able to examine the associations of smoking with co-occurring mental health conditions and substance use disorders.
Key findings illustrate mental health and poverty issues:
- The prevalence of smoking among adults from underserved communities was 28.1%, compared with 14.0% reported in the general U.S. population.
- Among those who currently smoked, 59.1% had depression and 45.4% had anxiety.
- Non-Hispanic Black adults who smoked had more than two times the odds of reporting substance use disorders.
- Individuals at or below 100% of the federal poverty level had more than two times the odds of having mental health conditions, and those who were unemployed had more than three times the odds for substance use disorders.
Data suggests tailored smoking cessation treatments as strategy
Dr Lin said that the study draws attention to “the importance of understanding the association and increased risk of mental health conditions and substance use disorders among adults from underserved communities who smoke while also addressing socioeconomic risk factors to achieve better health outcomes.”
Dr Lin also said: “The study further highlights the significance of tailored smoking cessation treatments for individuals from underserved communities that will support cancer prevention care.”
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