Preventing Chronic Disease

Hosler, Akiko S.*, and Isaac H. Michaels



Introduction: Smoking and poor nutrition are 2 leading preventable causes of death. This study investigated associations between smoking and indicators of individual- and neighborhood-level food distress among racially and ethnically diverse urban adults. Methods: We analyzed data from a health interview survey and a food environment assessment collected in 2013 and 2014 in Schenectady, New York. We constructed logistic regression models for current smoking with 6 indicators of food distress as exposure variables and sociodemographic characteristics, depression, anxiety, perceived stress, alcohol binge drinking, and disability as covariates. Results: The analytic sample consisted of 1,917 adults; 59.4% were female, more than half were racial/ethnic minorities (26.2% non-Hispanic black, 10.3% Hispanic, 10.9% Guyanese, 4.0% multiracial and other), and 37.1% were current smokers. All indicators of food distress remained in the parsimonious final model: consuming 0 or 1 serving of fruits and vegetables daily more than doubled the odds of smoking, compared with consuming 5 or more servings (odds ratio [OR], 2.05). Food insecurity (OR, 1.77), receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (OR, 1.79), using a food pantry (OR, 1.41), living in a neighborhood with low access to healthy food (OR, 1.40), and shopping for food often at a store with limited healthy food choices (OR, 1.38) were also associated with significantly higher odds of smoking. Conclusions: Recognizing that smoking and food distress are independently associated would lead to innovative public health intervention strategies. We suggest stronger collaboration between tobacco and nutrition public health professionals to synergistically reduce tobacco use and improve nutrition behavior and food environments in communities.

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* Denotes CSDA Associates, Affiliates, and Staff