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Smoking Status and Pain Intensity Among OEF/OIF/OND Veterans
University of Massachusetts Medical School Faculty Publications
  • Julie E. Volkman, Bryant University
  • Eric C. DeRycke, VA Connecticut Healthcare System
  • Mary A. Driscoll, VA Connecticut Healthcare System
  • William C. Becker, Yale University School of Medicine
  • Cynthia Brandt, Yale University School of Medicine
  • Kristin M. Mattocks, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Sally Haskell, Yale University School of Medicine
  • Harini Bathulapalli, Yale University
  • Joseph Goulet, Yale University
  • Lori A. Bastian, University of Connecticut Health Center
UMMS Affiliation
Department of Quantitative Health Sciences
Publication Date
Document Type
OBJECTIVE: Pain and smoking are highly prevalent among Veterans. Studies in non-Veteran populations have reported higher pain intensity among current smokers compared with nonsmokers and former smokers. We examined the association of smoking status with reported pain intensity among Veterans of Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, and New Dawn (OEF/OIF/OND). DESIGN: The sample consisted of OEF/OIF/OND Veterans who had at least one visit to Veterans Affairs (2001-2012) with information in the electronic medical record for concurrent smoking status and pain intensity. The primary outcome measure was current pain intensity, categorized as none to mild (0-3); moderate (4-6); or severe ( > /=7); based on a self-reported 11-point pain numerical rating scale. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were used to assess the association of current smoking status with moderate to severe ( > /=4) pain intensity, controlling for potential confounders. RESULTS: Overall, 50,988 women and 355,966 men Veterans were examined. The sample mean age was 30 years; 66.3% reported none to mild pain; 19.8% moderate pain; and 13.9% severe pain; 37% were current smokers and 16% former smokers. Results indicated that current smoking [odds ratio (OR) = 1.29 (95% confidence intervals (CI) = 1.27-1.31)] and former smoking [OR = 1.02 (95% CI = 1.01-1.05)] were associated with moderate to severe pain intensity, controlling for age, service-connected disability, gender, obesity, substance abuse, mood disorders, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. CONCLUSIONS: We found an association between current smoking and pain intensity. This effect was attenuated in former smokers. Our study highlights the importance of understanding reported pain intensity in OEF/OIF/OND Veterans who continue to smoke.
  • Pain,
  • Smoking,
  • Tobacco,
  • Veterans
DOI of Published Version
Pain Med. 2015 Sep;16(9):1690-6. doi: 10.1111/pme.12753. Epub 2015 Apr 27. Link to article on publisher's site
Related Resources
Link to Article in PubMed
PubMed ID
Citation Information
Julie E. Volkman, Eric C. DeRycke, Mary A. Driscoll, William C. Becker, et al.. "Smoking Status and Pain Intensity Among OEF/OIF/OND Veterans" Vol. 16 Iss. 9 (2015) ISSN: 1526-2375 (Linking)
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