The health-related quality-of-life of never smokers, ex-smokers, and light, moderate, and heavy smokers

Prev Med. 1999 Sep;29(3):139-44. doi: 10.1006/pmed.1999.0523.


Background: Health related quality-of-life is recognized as an important health outcome measure; how ever, it may also have a significant application in smoking reduction and cessation programs.

Methods: Representative population data (n = 3010) was used to compare the quality-of-life status of differ ent smoking categories with never smokers.

Results: Statistically significant differences in mean quality-of-life scores, as measured by the SF-36 health status questionnaire, were observed between never smokers, as the reference group, ex-smokers, all smokers, and light, moderate, and heavy smokers. Heavy smokers also scored significantly lower than both other groups of smokers, scoring as low as the 29th percentile of the population on the general health dimension and lower than the 36th percentile of the population on all the mental health dimensions.

Conclusions: The design of public health smoking cessation programs should consider the varying characteristics of different segments of the smoking population. The advantages of improved quality-of-life may strengthen the argument for encouraging heavier smokers to become light smokers as a precursor to total cessation.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life*
  • Sampling Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking Cessation / statistics & numerical data*
  • South Australia / epidemiology