June 29, 2022

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Smokers are more likely to be socially isolated and have a strong sense of loneliness

Smokers are more likely to be socially isolated and have a strong sense of loneliness



 

Smokers are more likely to be socially isolated and have a strong sense of loneliness

“The Lancet” sub-issue: The more you smoke, the more lonely you become! 12-year follow-up found that with age, smokers are more likely to be socially isolated and have a strong sense of loneliness丨Clinical findings

smoking is harmful to health, and we do not advocate smoking for socializing. What’s more, an article published in the journal “The Lancet European Health” not long ago also suggested that if you want to rely on smoking to escape loneliness or expand your social circle, in terms of long-term benefits, it may backfire .

 

Based on 12 years of follow-up data , Keir EJ Philip and colleagues from the UK’s National Heart and Lung Institute found that smokers were more likely to be socially isolated, communicate less with their families and be less socially engaged than non-smokers. more active, more likely to live alone, and even more intense feelings of loneliness. And with the growth of the years, this phenomenon will intensify [1].

 

smokers are more likely to be socially isolated and have a strong sense of loneliness

Screenshot of the paper’s homepage

 

In fact, the relationship between smoking and social interaction has been explored for a long time, and they have found that people with strong social isolation and loneliness are more likely to smoke [2-5].

But considering the health effects of smoking and the increasing ban on smoking in public places , Philip and his colleagues could not help but question this—

 

Did lonely people choose to smoke, or did smoking lead to loneliness and social isolation?

 

So, Philip and colleagues used a sample from the United Kingdom Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) [6], which included 8780 participants aged 50 years and older, who were followed up for 12 years from 2004/2005 .

 

The participants were 45% male, with a mean age of 67 years, 15.1% were smokers, and 84.9% were non-smokers. Compared with non-smokers, smokers were slightly younger, had lower education levels, lower wealth levels, slightly higher employment rates, and were more likely to be depressed (P<0.01).

 

smokers are more likely to be socially isolated and have a strong sense of loneliness

Participants’ baseline and association with smoking

 

They also collected participants ‘ social isolation and loneliness at baseline and at 4 , 8, and 12 years of follow-up.

 

Among them, social isolation is based on participants’ low social contact behavior (face-to-face interaction, telephone conversation, email or written communication), social disengagement behavior (participation in community activities such as residents, fitness, education, art, etc., as well as visiting museums, listening to concerts, etc.) , going to the cinema, etc.), family disengagement behavior (living alone or not) [7]. Loneliness was assessed according to the Loneliness Scale [8].

 

The researchers first conducted a cross-sectional analysis of the participants’ baseline data .

 

They found that compared with non-smokers, smokers had higher levels of social isolation, as reflected in less communication with family and friends (coef.=0.297, 95%CI=0.148-0.446) , and less participation in various Activities organized by clubs, groups (coef.=0.534, 95%CI=0.421-0.654) , and the possibility of living alone (OR=1.400, 95%CI=1.209-1.618) .

 

Not only that, the loneliness of smokers was stronger (coef.=0.111, 95%CI=0.025-0.196) .

 

Longitudinal , compared with baseline, smoking was associated with a substantial reduction in social engagement behavior (coef.=0.205, 0.297, 0.254) and an increase in social disengagement behavior (coef . .=0.168, 0.197, 0.179) ; smokers tended to increase loneliness, and during the follow-up period from year 4 to year 8, smoking was significantly associated with increased loneliness (coef.=0.105, 95%CI=0.003-0.207 ) , the changes at other follow-up times were not statistically significant.

 

It is worth mentioning that the association between smoking and social isolation and loneliness was stronger in smokers <65 years old than in smokers ≥65 years old.

However, the social isolation and loneliness brought about by smoking were not related to the cohabitation or loneliness of the smokers.

 

smokers are more likely to be socially isolated and have a strong sense of loneliness

Horizontal and vertical analysis of the association between smoking and social isolation and loneliness

 

Taken together, Philip and his colleagues analyzed data from nearly 9,000 people over a 12-year follow-up period and concluded that smoking was associated with greater social isolation and greater loneliness. The older you smoke, the worse the situation will be .

 

The researchers’ views on this result are also very exciting. They believe that due to the vigorous implementation of anti- smoking measures , the “living space” of smokers in public places is forced to shrink, which may affect the social frequency of smokers.

 

In addition, the impact of smoking on health should not be underestimated. First of all, after a certain age, the poor physical condition of smokers will lead to social inconvenience.

Second, there may be people who cannot stand the smell of cigarettes and maintain social distance, and smokers may only have fun with smokers.

What’s more worrying is that the health status of smokers is not optimistic, which may further impact the social circle of smokers…

 

Harm, in a word, smoking is harmful to health, without the body, what is social interaction? No problem.

 

 

 

 

references:

[1]https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanepe/article/PIIS2666-7762(21)00288-X/fulltext

[2]Shankar A, McMunn A, Banks J, Steptoe A. Loneliness, social isolation, and behavioral and biological health indicators in older adults. Health psychology: official journal of the Division of Health Psychology. Am Psychol 2011;30(4):377–85.

[3]Choi NG, DiNitto DM. Role of New Diagnosis, Social Isolation, and Depression in Older Adults’ Smoking Cessation. Gerontologist 2015;55(5):793–801.

[4]Holahan CJ, North RJ, Holahan CK, Hayes RB, Powers DA, Ockene JK. Social influences on smoking in middle-aged and older women. Psychol Addict Behav 2012;26(3):519–26.

[5]Sreeramareddy CT, Pradhan PM. Prevalence and Social Determinants of Smoking in 15 Countries from North Africa, Central and Western Asia, Latin America and Caribbean: Secondary Data Analyses of Demographic and Health Surveys. PloS One 2015;10(7): e0130104.

[6]Steptoe A, Breeze E, Banks J, Nazroo J. Cohort profile: the English longitudinal study of ageing. Int J Epidemiol 2013;42(6):1640–8.

[7]Philip KEJ, Polkey MI, Hopkinson NS, Steptoe A, Fancourt D. Social isolation, loneliness and physical performance in olderadults: fixed effects analyses of a cohort study. Scientific Reports

2020;10(1):13908.

[8]Hughes ME, Waite LJ, Hawkley LC, Cacioppo JT. A Short Scale for Measuring Loneliness in Large Surveys: Results From Two Population-Based Studies. Res Aging 2004;26(6):655–72.

smokers are more likely to be socially isolated and have a strong sense of loneliness

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