Domestic Abuse Increases Smoking Risk

Domestic abuse, unfortunately, is a widespread situation where one or both partners have reached the point of harming the other mentally and/or physically. The topic is too broad to adequately address it  in a brief news post.  Below is just one finding about one of the responses to the abuse: tobacco addiction.

Researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health have found that victims of domestic abuse are more likely to turn to tobacco as a coping mechanism. As previous studies have shown that victims of intimate partner violence are more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety and even post-traumatic stress disorder, these findings highlight smoking addiction following recovery.

The study involved 231,892 women aged 15 to 29, along with information collected in the Demographic and Health Surveys.

A meta-analysis of country-level data showed that certain confounding factors, including education, age, and household wealth, shows that women who’ve suffered from domestic violence are 58 percent more likely to smoke.

“A recent WHO report on IPV recommended that there is a clear need to scale-up efforts to both prevent IPV from happening in the first place and to provide necessary services for women experiencing IPV,” said senior author Peter A. Muennig, MD, MPH, associate professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health, via a press release.

“Smoking is associated with cardiovascular disease, and therefore may explain part of the association between exposure to IPV and cardiovascular disease,” added first author Rishi Caleyachetty, MBBS, PhD, an epidemiologist on a Fulbright Scholarship at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health, via the release. “However, to my knowledge this has not been extensively examined.”

“Information about the consequences of smoking, motivation to quit smoking and smoking-cessation treatments could be incorporated into IPV treatment by healthcare providers who routinely interact with IPV victims,” Caleyachetty added.

What do you think?

More information regarding the findings can be seen via the journal Global Public Health.

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