The effect of weight control concerns on smoking among adults is unclear. We examined the association between smoking behavior and weight control efforts among US adults.
A total of 17 317 adults responded to the Year 2000 Supplement of the 1995 National Health Interview Survey (83% combined response rate). Respondents provided sociodemographic and health information, including their smoking history and whether they were trying to lose weight, maintain weight, or gain weight.
Rates of smoking were lower among adults who were trying to lose or maintain weight than among those not trying to control weight (25% vs 31%; P<.001). After adjustment for sex, race, education, income, marital status, region of the country, and body mass index, the relationship between trying to lose weight and current smoking varied according to age. Among adults younger than 30 years, those trying to lose weight were more likely to smoke currently (odds ratio, 1.36 [95% confidence interval, 1.09-1.70]), whereas older adults trying to lose weight were as likely or less likely to smoke compared with adults not trying to control weight. After adjustment, smokers of all ages who were trying to lose weight were more likely to express a desire to quit smoking. Results were similar after stratification by sex and body mass index.
Adults younger than 30 years are more likely to smoke if they are trying to lose weight. However, smokers of all ages who are trying to lose weight are more likely to want to stop smoking. Patients' weight control efforts should not discourage clinicians from counseling about smoking cessation. Education about smoking and healthy weight control methods should target young adults.