To investigate the association between smoking and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in a rural Japanese population.
A cross-sectional study of data from 823 subjects in Iwaki area of Hirosaki City, Japan. SF-36 scores between non-smokers and smokers were compared. To test the sensitivity of SF-36 scores in detecting health deterioration, effects of having diseases and having deviations from normal thresholds in health check-up were analyzed by adding them into covariates in ANCOVA.
There was no significant difference in SF-36 scores between non-smokers and smokers. Presence of diseases significantly decreased the physical components of SF-36 scores while the results of health check-up had no significant influence on SF-36 scores.
The results suggested the possibility that in Japan, where smoking prevalence is still relatively high, smokers may be less sensitive to sub-clinical deterioration in their own health status than smokers in Western countries that already have experienced the major decline in their smoking rate. The importance of having the smoker become more sensitive to the sub-clinical adverse effects of cigarette smoking should be stressed for the success of smoking control programs.