Adverse childhood experiences and smoking status in five states

Prev Med. 2011 Sep;53(3):188-93. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2011.06.015. Epub 2011 Jun 25.


Objective: Our objective was to examine the associations between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and smoking behavior among a random sample of adults living in five U.S. states.

Methods: We used data from 25,809 participants of the 2009 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to assess the relationship of each of the 8 adverse childhood experiences and the adverse childhood experience score to smoking status.

Results and conclusions: Some 59.4% of men and women reported at least one adverse childhood experience. Each of the eight adverse childhood experiences measures was significantly associated with smoking status after adjustment for demographic variables. The prevalence ratios for current and ever smoking increased in a positive graded fashion as the adverse childhood experience score increased. Among adults who reported no adverse childhood experiences, 13.0% were currently smoking and 38.3% had ever smoked. Compared to participants with an adverse childhood experience score of 0, those with an adverse childhood experience score of 5 or more were more likely to be a current smoker (adjusted prevalence ratio (aPR): 2.22, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.92-2.57) and to have ever smoked (aPR: 1.80, 95% CI: 1.67-1.93). Further research is warranted to determine whether the prevention of and interventions for adverse childhood experiences might reduce the burden of smoking-related illness in the general population.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child Abuse / psychology*
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance
  • Prevalence
  • Psychometrics
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Report
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Spouse Abuse / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / complications*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult