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The 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health
Building capacity for a tobacco-free world
July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, USA
Objective: To determine the association between tobacco use and chronic pain conditions, and also to explore the role of tobacco use and its cessation on pain therapies.
Methods: A cross-sectional questionnaire study of university students to assess the prevalence of chronic back pain was carried out. Questions included the use of tobacco and participation in sporting activities. Their relationship with chronic pain was determined. A second part of the study involved chronic pain patients visiting the pain clinic. We determined the proportion of patients who were smokers relative to the general population and compared response to pain relief therapies between smokers and nonsmokers. All smokers were counseled to quit smoking and we evaluated the response to pain therapies of those who quit by comparing the pre-and post-cessation periods.
Results: Students who had chronic back pain were significantly more likely to be smokers than nonsmokers. Students who regularly participated in sports were less likely to have chronic back pain than those who did not. Smokers were also less likely to participate in sports than nonsmokers. The proportion of smokers in our pain clinics was much higher than in the matched general population. Pain therapies to relieve pain were generally less effective in smokers than in nonsmokers and pain relief or control improved significantly with cessation of smoking. In summary cigarette smoking adversely affects both pain and its management.